LEADER OF KIEV PATRIARCHATE THREATENS TO DISRUPT UNIFICATION COUNCIL
Interfax-Religiia, 10 December 2018
The head of the self-proclaimed Kiev patriarchate, Filaret Denisenko, warned that he and his supporters may prevent the successful conduct of a unification council on 15 December, if Constantinople does not accept their conditions.
"The Kiev patriarchate is the largest church and it depends on us whether we will accept what they will offer us or not. If it is beneficial to us, we will accept, but if it will not be beneficial to either us, or the state, or the Ukrainian church, we simply will not vote and we will reject it," Filaret declared on Monday according to the TV channel TSH.
F. Denisenko explained that the hierarchs of the Kiev patriarchate do not agree with the procedure for conducting the council suggested by Constantinople.
First, Filaret said, the Kiev patriarchate wants for the council to be exclusively an episcopal one, while Patriarch Bartholomew insists on the participation in it of laity and rank-and-file priests, along with the bishops. Second, Filaret wants open voting in the election of the head of the new church while Constantinople, on the contrary, wants secret ballots.
The goal of the unification council is the creation of a Ukrainian church independent from the Moscow patriarchate, to which, as proposed, Constantinople will grant a tomos concerning autocephaly. Originally it was said that the council would be held in early October, then the dates of 21 and 22 November appeared, and later the council was postponed to 15 December.
In the opinion of observers, one of the reasons for the postponement of the forum was just this lack of consensus among its participants, particularly on such questions as the charter and leadership of the future church: Filaret earlier for himself stipulated the possibility of being its "honorary patriarch," which did not suit Constantinople.
The canonical Orthodox church has refused to participate in this project from the very beginning. In addition, at its session held on 7 December the Synod of the UPTs declared that Patriarch Bartholomew does not have the right to convene any assembly in Ukraine, and that decisions adopted by this "council" will not have any canonical or legal force. (tr. by PDS, posted 10 December 2018)
FILARET INTENDS "TO BE PATRIARCH UNTIL DEATH"
Religiia v Ukraine, 10 December 2018
On 7 December, while on a visit to Chernigov, the primate of the UPTs of the Kiev Patriarchate, Filaret, commented on the process of preparing the unification council of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, Religiia v Ukraine reports with a reference to UNIAN.
Filaret said that the largest representation of bishops in the unification council will be the UPTs of the Kiev Patriarchate—40 bishops. Twelve bishops will represent the UAPTs and three or four representative will be from the UPTs of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Filaret stressed that now a fierce struggle is going on so that the church will not be unified and the Ukrainian church will not be recognized as canonical. "This is all Moscow's doing, but because of our Ukrainian lackeys. Rumors are spreading that the patriarch will retire and will not run. This is untrue. I will be patriarch until death, because my enthronement was in 1995. And nobody will remove this grace," he declared.
Filaret also emphasized that the unification council will consider the question of the unification of the churches, the election of a primate, and the adoption of a charter of the united local church in Ukraine. He expressed the hope that this event will bring about change for the better. "We will not accept worse. We will reject everything, if they demand of us what is not beneficial," Filaret said. (tr. by PDS, posted 10 December 2018)
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