OFFICIAL SITE OF FILARET'S KIEV PATRIARCHATE PUBLISHES METROPOLITAN IOASAF'S APPEAL CRITICIZING "YOUNG TEAM" LEADING P.Ts.U.
Credo.Press, 5 April 2019
An open appeal by Metropolitan of Belgorod and Oboyan Ioasaf, of the UPTsKP, was published under the title "I cannot be silent!" on 3 April on the official website of the Kiev patriarchate, with the blessing of the honorary patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU), Filaret. As a portal Credo.Press correspondent reports, considering the extremely radical contents of the text, which had previously been posted on the metropolitan's blog, its publication has been taken in the PTsU as a manifestation of Patriarch Filaret's move into the "opposition" and even as a choice of a political position in the context of the presidential elections in Ukraine.
Metropolitan Ioasaf begins his appeal with a statement about the "unbearable weight that has for two months already burdened and gnawed at" his soul. In his opinion, "lawlessness has already been created" in the PTsU. Metropolitan Ioasaf, a former permanent member of the synod of the UPTsKP, thinks that "before our eyes and with our unwitting participation a church coup occurred," during which, "by deception, they changed not only the primate of the church but also sent the church itself onto some false path."
The hierarch begins with the fact that the very preparation for presenting a tomos concerning autocephaly "was conducted in some kind of secret whispering campaign among the patriarch's encourage—Metropolitan Epifany, Archbishop Evstraty, and Archbishop Agapit. Everything that happened was presented in the form of some kind of sketchy semi-rumors and semi-assumptions, and nobody knew the exact state of affairs. To be sure, at the time the 'enemy press' already wrote about the fact that the young entourage of the patriarch had a secret plan to remove the patriarch from the administration, but nobody believed this."
The prohibition on Patriarch Filaret's advancing his candidacy in the elections of the primate of the PTsU, in Metropolitan Ioasaf's opinion, violated the canons, inasmuch as "all bishops have the right to be elected." He explains his consent to accept Metropolitan Epifany as the primate of the church by guarantees from the patriarch that "Patriarch Filaret and Metropolitan Epifany will administer the church together." The Belgorod metropolitan also considers as uncanonical the adoption of the PTsU's charter, which participants in the council on 15 December 2018 adopted "without once have seen it with our eyes, using only rumors received from Archbishop Evstraty and scraps of information from the internet. The draft of the text that was adopted, we received two hours before the voting itself."
Separately Metropolitan Ioasaf dwells on the problem of the PTsU parishes in the diaspora, which, according to the tomos and charter, must be transferred into the jurisdiction of the patriarchate of Constantinople. "According to rumors from the participants in negotiations (Metropolitan Epifany and Archbishop Evstraty)," the author of the appeal testifies, "the question of the diaspora was resolved thus: although the charter has the requirement (of transfer of the diaspora to the ecumenical patriarch), in reality this requirement will not be fulfilled and the diaspora has full rights to remain in the church."
Metropolitan Ioasaf further criticizes the composition and activity of the Synod of the PTsU, which was formed rather arbitrarily, at the discretion of the primate, which led to "discarding the principle of conciliarity." The hierarch is disturbed by the internal division in the PTsU, where during celebrational events the smaller portion of hierarchs concelebrate with Patriarch Filaret in the cathedral of St. Vladimir, and the larger portion, with Metropolitan Epifany in the St. Michael's Golden-domed monastery. His dissent also is evoked by the absence of the patriarch at the enthronement of the primate of the PTsU.
Ioasaf lays out his impressions from the first session of the Synod of the PTsU: "Nobody knew its composition. There was neither an oral nor a printed list. We came, we asked, and we were puzzled. I also did not know whether to stay for the Synod. There was nobody to ask. I decided that I would go for the start of the session of the Synod and I would ask the primate himself about myself. The Synod was scheduled for 11:00 a.m. I arrived earlier, and the session had already begun. I involuntarily became a witness of this first session of the Synod. I heard everything. To say that I was in shock from what happened at the Synod is to say nothing!!!" The author of the appeal devotes special attention to the issue of the appointment of Patriarch Filaret as the administrator of the former parishes of the UPTsKP in the city of Kiev: "Mockery of the elder patriarch simply began. Metropolitan Simeon and Bishop German excelled at this, and Metropolitan Makary also participated. They demanded in a disrespectful, not to say, boorish tone to take away from the patriarch the right to administer the Kiev parishes. The bishops of the former Kiev patriarchate kept silent, giving the opportunity to mock the patriarch. You read in the published minutes of the Synod the words: Honorary Patriarch Filaret was confirmed in the capacity of administrator of the parishes of Kiev. But actually he was confirmed only after he wanted to leave the session of the Synod and address a statement to the public."
The appeal ends with accusatory words against the young bishops of the PTsU, who, in the opinion of Metropolitan Ioasaf, betrayed their patriarch and are guilty of the sin of lying.
A number of bishops of the UPTsKP have already spoken out with criticism of the position of the metropolitan of Belgorod. In particular, another Russian bishop of the PTsU, Metropolitan of Bogorod Adrian, considers that Metropolitan Ioasaf's "grievance" is the result of the fact that he was a permanent member of the Synod for 20 years, he received the office of Russian exarch of the UPTsKP, and he is accustomed to high status in the church. Metropolitan of Ivano-Frankivsk Ioasaf, of the PTsU, expressed the concern that a public polemic around the status of the PTsU and its leadership is fraught with the danger of "withdrawal of the tomos."
A spokesman for the PTsU, Archbishop Evstraty, in his blog, identifies the start of a campaign for "discrediting all people and institutions connected with the receipt and implementation" of the tomos, without directly naming Patriarch Filaret and Metropolitan Ioasaf. The archbishop thinks that the goal of this campaign is to force the ecumenical patriarch "to change his decision regarding Ukraine," making the subsequent resolution of the "Ukrainian question" dependent upon the position of the RPTsMP within the context of a "pan-Orthodox consensus." In addition, Evstraty writes, "depreciation of the significance of the tomos is also already being used, and will be used in the future, as an element of the political struggle." (tr. by PDS, posted 6 April 2019)
P.Ts.U. METROPOLITAN ACCUSES HIS COLLEAGUES OF ATTEMPT TO REMOVE FILARET FROM POWER
Religiia v Ukraine, 5 April 2019
Metropolitan of Belgorod and Oboyan Ioasaf, who before joining the PTsU served in the UPTsKP and represented the latter in the Belgorod and Kursk oblasts of Russia, on 2 April on his page in Facebook published a letter of appeal to believers in which he set forth his dissatisfaction that the former patriarch of the UPTsKP is gradually being removed from power in the PTsU. On 3 April, the website of the former UPTsKP reprinted the bishop's appeal under the title "Open appeal of Metropolitan of Belgorod and Oboyan Ioasaf," a correspondent of the portal Religiia v Ukraine reports.
From the letter, it follows that at the February session of the Synod of the PTsU a serious dispute arose between a part of the Synod and Metropolitan Filaret, who is called an "honorary patriarch" in the PTsU. Metropolitan Ioasaf took part in the Synod and described how the dispute about the administration of the Kiev diocese went. The opposition to Filaret, who wanted to keep the Kiev diocese for himself, consisted of Metropolitan Makary (the primate of the former UAPTs), Metropolitan Simeon (the former UPTsMP Vinnytsia bishop), Bishop German (a hierarch of the former UAPTs), and also Archbishop Evstraty and the primate of the PTsU himself, Metropolitan Epifany, who were former hierarchs of the UPTsKP. They argued for the necessity of administration of the capital diocese by the primate of the church (that is, by Metropolitan Epifany), as is customary in the ecumenical church. The Synod agreed to leave the capital see for Filaret "only after he wanted to leave the session of the Synod and make a statement to the public."
"Metropolitan Epifany chaired the session. The voice of the patriarch was almost not heard. The youthful bishops, without embarrassment, argued with the elder on any flimsy issue, particularly when it was a matter of the patriarch's administering the parishes of Kiev. It was simply humiliation of the elder patriarch that began! Metropolitan Simeon and Bishop German excelled at this, and Metropolitan Makary also participated. They demanded in a disrespectful, not to say, boorish tone to take away from the patriarch the right to administer the Kiev parishes. The bishops of the former Kiev patriarchate kept silent, giving the opportunity to mock the patriarch," Ioasaf writes, taking Filaret's side in the letter.
He maintains that on the eve of the unification council of the PTsU, the bishops of the UPTsKP agreed on the joint leadership of Filaret and Epifany in the new PTsU: "external, inter-church affairs will be conducted by the new prelate and the internal church administration will be conducted by the patriarch until his death." However subsequently "the entourage of the patriarch—Metropolitan Epifany, Archbishop Evstraty, and Archbishop Agapit"(bishops of the former UPTsKP)--according to Metropolitan Ioasaf began to depart from this line, preferring Metropolitan Epifany as the sole head of the PTsU.
Metropolitan Ioasaf accused his colleagues of "violations of the canons" and declared that several provisions of the charter on administration of the PTsU proposed by the "Greeks" were "harmful" and "uncanonical." That is how Ioasaf views the requirement of the charter about the jurisdiction of the PTsU only over the territory of Ukraine, while the whole diaspora (including Ioasaf's diocese) must go over to the ecumenical patriarchate. A question also arises for Metropolitan Ioasaf over the point of the charter on the composition of the Synod of the PTsU.
Evidently Metropolitan Ioasaf still lives by the psychology of a bishop of the UPTsKP, and so he urges: "The all-Ukrainian flock of His Holiness Patriarch Filaret, pray earnestly to God for your patriarch. Remember that it is only by his labors that we have our now officially recognized church. Current leaders of the church, remember that it was he who found you and raised you to the heights of church life and gave you all the benefits, both spiritual and material." (tr. by PDS, posted 7 April 2019)
SCHISM IN NEW UKRAINIAN CHURCH
Filaret turned against the Greeks and youth
Ukraina.ru, 5 April 2019
In the new religious organization created on the foundation of the Kiev patriarchate, schism is coming to a head. The church that appeared by the efforts of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew is coming apart at the seams.
On 3 April there appeared in the news section of the website of the PTsU an open appeal by Metropolitan of Belgorod and Oboyan Ioasaf.
"On 3 April 2019, Metropolitan of Belgorod and Oboyan Ioasaf addressed an open appeal regarding the situation that has developed recently in the local Ukrainian Orthodox Church," the appeal of its bishop was introduced on the church's website.
Originally Ioasaf published his appeal late in the evening of 2 April on his page in Facebook. If one believes him, it was written back in February, after the conduct of the enthronement of the head of the PTsU, Metropolitan of Kiev and all-Ukraine Epifany.
"I wrote this letter immediately after I arrived from Kiev, where I attended the enthronement of His Beatitude Metropolitan Epifany. And lo to this day I have not made public my pain. Now, I see, articles are beginning to appear trying to cover up the lawlessness that is being created in the church. And as a bishop who is responsible, to my extent, for the fate of the church, I am making public my text which, I repeat, was written back in February," Ioasaf himself explained his publication.
Ioasaf's appeal is in Russian. This is not surprising. His diocese is located in Russia. The center of his diocese is Belgorod. Formally his anxiety is understandable: after the creation of the PTsU, he—a priest of the Kiev patriarchate—found himself in limbo. However, the text itself of the appeal of the Belgorodian testifies: he is talking not only about banal issues of the subordination of a foreign diocese but about a schism of the PTsU into two irreconcilable camps.
On the whole, it is possible to distinguish two main topics in Ioasaf's appeal: the degrading of the head of the Kiev patriarchate, Filaret, by the leadership of the PTsU and the perfidy of the patriarchate of Constantinople. These topics are closely interwoven.
"Before our eyes and with our unwitting participation, a church coup occurred. In it, by deception, the primate of the church not only was changed but the church itself was directed into some kind of false path and a lie was made the foundation of its existence. The sacred canons of the Orthodox church, which are the only bases on which the life of the church is built, were replaced by someone's human (and that means not free of sin) will. Now, when there is a weak objection against this, the current youth who are heading the church reply to us: that's what the Greeks want. All the preparation for these already accomplished events was conducted in some secret whispering campaign among the entourage of the patriarch: Metropolitan Epifany, Archbishop Evstraty, and Archbishop Agapit," Ioasaf declared.
He said that the objection among the old guard of the Kiev patriarchate was evoked by the proposed charter of the new church, many of whose provisions were "harmful to the life of the church and even uncanonical."
These provisions, the metropolitan said, were proposed by the Greeks. He put the word "Greeks" in quotes. At the same time it was with the Greeks that the spokesman of the Kiev patriarchate, Archbishop of Chernigov and Nezhin Evstraty, discussed the charter, about which he communicated to Filaret, who, in his turn, reported to all the rest of the bishops.
Incidentally, Evstraty himself has already briefly reacted to Ioasaf's accusation. "Christ showed the example that humility, among other things, means to endure unjust accusations and not to reply to them, leaving everything in God's hands," he wrote on Facebook.
It is he—one of the most recognizable persons of the Kiev patriarchate along with Filaret—and also Archbishop of Chernovtsy and Khotin German, the former metropolitan of the canonical UPTs Simeon, and the head of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Makary—whom Ioasaf accused of mocking Filaret.
"The voice of the patriarch (Filaret—ed. note) was almost not heard. The youthful bishops, without embarrassment, argued with the elder on any flimsy issue, particularly when it was a matter of the patriarch's administering the parishes of Kiev. It was simply humiliation of the elder patriarch that began! Metropolitan Simeon and Bishop German excelled at this, and Metropolitan Makary also participated. They demanded in a disrespectful, not to say, boorish tone to take away from the patriarch the right to administer the Kiev parishes. The bishops of the former Kiev patriarchate kept silent, giving the opportunity to mock the patriarch," he described the session of the PTsU Synod.
According to Ioasaf, Filaret was confirmed in the capacity of administering the parishes of Kiev only after he threatened the gathering to leave the Synod and to address a statement to the public.
The appeal of the Metropolitan of Belgorod and Oboyan gives many examples of a disrespectful attitude toward Patriarch of Kiev and all-Ukraine-Rus Filaret on the part of the leadership of the PTsU and its primate in particular. Ioasaf claims that everything they promised him was a lie.
"They lied before the council about two primates. They lied in adopting the charter, whose text was not discussed and which turned out to be entirely unlike what was promised. They lied about the fact that immediately a local council of the PTsU would be called for fixing all dubious matters of the existence of the church. They lied and they are lying about the situation of the diaspora: it still is transferring to the ecumenical patriarch or simply to nonexistence," he laments.
And he urges the young man, whom Filaret found when he was "tending cows and geese" and raised to the very summit, giving him every spiritual and material benefit, to come to his senses.
But the appeal also has a hidden subtext.
Ioasaf's diocese is located in Russia. And this is very convenient for Filaret, in whose defense the Belgorod metropolitan is speaking. Officially Filaret still has not confirmed the validity of the charges advanced by Ioasaf, and he has not even commented on them. He is taking a waiting position.
If the PTsU leadership puts out any complaints against Filaret, he will always be able to say that the appeal is the personal initiative of Ioasaf. And if suddenly in the PTsU there is revealed some conspiracy in which the old guard from the Kiev patriarchate will be complicit, Filaret always will be able to blame everything on the metropolitan of Belgorod, whose diocese is in Russia. Ioasaf always can be put up as a man who was forced to introduce schism into the ranks of the PTsU by all-powerful (in the opinion of the Ukrainian political elite) Russian intelligence services.
At the same time, the split between the youth and the elders, of which Ioasaf wrote, actually exists.
"I can share only the opinion of bishops of the PTsU. Despite the fact that Filaret and his Synod decided brashly to join the newly created PTsU, it was essentially Filaret's Synod with the addition of three votes, taken together, from the rest of the churches. So not to be verbose, I want to say that the PTsU bishops do not consider the Synod of 5 February to be authoritative, but simply a rehearsal," Archbishop Adrian, who participated in the PTsU Synod session, described in February his impressions of what happened.
After the resonance evoked by the note, he deleted it, but many people managed to make a screenshot. At the same time, in one of the comments on another note, Adrian spoke about the "old team of manipulators from the former Kiev patriarchate."
At the time—in February 2019—he was not the only one who expressed dissatisfaction with the meeting of the Synod and criticized the old leadership of the Kiev patriarchate. This was noted even by such a member of the Synod as the head of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, Makary.
The appearance of Ioasaf's current appeal is associated by many with the fact that on 2 April, on the "Kievan Orthodoxy" site, there appeared an article by his namesake, Metropolitan of Ivano-Frankivsk Ioasaf, of the PTsU, in which, without naming Filaret, he accuses him of attempting to split the newly created church.
"Someone very much does not want for all diocesan bishops to meet in turn in a fully qualified Synod and be responsible for the development of the church. The fact that the episcopate tacitly accepted the current composition of the Synod, associated with several violations, does not mean that the episcopate is ready to consent to the attempt to revive the old structure," the Ivano-Frankivsk bishop writes.
All of this discord is complicated by the really suspended status of the foreign dioceses of the PTsU. According to one of the conditions of the creation of the new church, they are supposed to be transferred to submission to the patriarchate of Constantinople, about which neither the clergy of these parishes nor their parishioners are happy, to say nothing of the bishops of the Kiev patriarchate who head these dioceses.
In such circumstances, the danger of schism in
the new structure is growing. To be sure, Poroshenko can
intervene, with all the might of the state machine. "Faith" is one
of the three foundational elements of his electoral campaign, and
the receipt of the tomos is one of the greatest, in his opinion,
successes in the history of modern Ukraine. And any schism in the
PTsU will be a blow to the current Ukrainian president. (tr. by
PDS, posted 6 April 2019)
PTsU HIERARCH: INTRODUCTION OF CHANGES IN CHARTER WILL LEAD TO REVOKING OF TOMOS
Union of Orthodox Journalists, 2 April 2019
PTsU Metropolitan of Ivano-Frankivsk and Galicia Ioasaf Vasilikiv declared that he and his colleagues are displeased with the unauthorized changes in the PTsU charter, which were introduced by the leadership of the newly created structure. He reported this on the website Kievan Orthodoxy.
"Somebody really wants our church to not have a future," the hierarch declared.
In his opinion, the PTsU charter that was provided by the Phanar suits the bishops: "The basic principles of the activity of our church that are prescribed in the PTsU charter fully satisfy diocesan bishops. In the charters of the dioceses, the fundamental principles of the interaction of the metropolitanate with the dioceses and the dioceses with the parishes are rather well prescribed."
So introducing any kind of changes, Ioasaf says, will be improper, since it may lead to rescinding of the tomos.
Vasilikiv considers that a departure from the format prescribed in the tomos for convening the Synod of the PTsU will lead his colleagues toward a "metropolitburo" and he hints that the episcopate is dissatisfied by the fact that the leadership of the PTsU is introducing into the Synod permanent members while infringing others: "Several really do not want for all diocesan bishops to meet in the Synod in sequence with full rights and to be responsible for the development of the church. The fact that the episcopate has accepted silently the current composition of the Synod, which was convened with several violations, does not mean that the episcopate is ready to agree with the attempt to revive the old structure."
The metropolitan also reported that such a policy of the PTsU leadership "is a path to a new schism of the church, and this should not be permitted."
We recall that in the tomos for the PTsU, the Phanariotes directed that the composition of the Synod of this structure should "be convened annually from bishops invited in rotation according to their seniority from among those who have dioceses within the geographical boundaries of Ukraine." At the same time, bishops of Constantinople insist that all changes in the PTsU charter must be agreed with Constantinople. Nevertheless in the meetings of the PTsU Synod that have taken place three permanent members were included and the rule of the seniority of the bishops was overtly ignored by Filaret and Epifany.
And on 15 March 2019, Filaret declared that the Phanariot charter of the PTsU does not suit him at all.
"The charter does not satisfy me personally. And therefore at the next local council we must conduct a session and adopt a charter of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Not of a metropolitanate of Kiev within the patriarchate of Constantinople, because we now are using this charter, a Greek charter. As an autocephalous church, we must have our own Ukrainian charter, which must be confirmed at a local council. We are therefore awaiting the convening of a council of the UPTs at which a charter of our church must be adopted," Filaret said.
Among the shortcomings of the current charter of the PTsU, Filaret identified the procedure of appointing permanent members of the Synod: "The most important thing is to change the number of permanent members of the Synod. What is needed is not three, like now, but more, somewhere around 12. For the others, there remains the possibility of being temporary members of the Synod in rotation." (tr. by PDS, posted 8 April 2019)
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