Filaret holds press conference to air complaints


Religiia v Ukraine, 15 April 2019


On 15 May, there was a press conference in the residence of the former patriarch of the UPTsKP, Filaret, regarding the situation that has developed in the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU), where Filaret has the rank of metropolitan and at the same time the unofficial status of "honorary patriarch." Filaret repeated the claims that he expressed yesterday: the president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, and the primate of the PTsU, Metropolitan Epifany, violated unofficial agreements to the effect that after the creation of the PTsU, Filaret will administer the church and Epifany will perform representative functions of the PTsU in the international arena, Religiia v Ukraine reports.


"Poroshenko promised one thing and is doing another. . . . Vladyka Epifany is avoiding communication with me. I gave to him a recommendation originally of what should be done, but he is doing the opposite," Filaret complained (here and subsequently quotations are from the transcript of the press conference from Tserkvarium), maintaining that both allegedly promised him the supreme authority in the PTsU.


However there are not any documents concerning these agreements. "The agreements were only oral," Filaret affirmed, and he stated that he was deceived and now he regrets that he advanced the candidacy of Epifany for primate of the PTsU.


"I signed the liquidation of the Kiev patriarchate because we faced the question whether we would receive the tomos or not. In order to receive it, it was necessary to become a part of the patriarchate of Constantinople. Therefore I signed the liquidation for a time," Filaret thinks; he stated yesterday that the UPTsKP was not liquidated and it continues to exist with him, Filaret, as the head.


Also, in Filaret's opinion, after the receipt of the tomos concerning autocephaly, the PTsU's hands were untied and it can revise its charter, its name, and so forth. Which has recently been proposed by Filaret, who insists on elevating the canonical status of the PTsU to the level of a patriarchate and who suggests revising the composition of the Synod of the PTsU in accordance with a plan he favors (eliminating the rotation of members of the Synod).


At the same time, Filaret declared: "It is now too early to speak about a change in the number of members of the Synod prior to a council. Metropolitan Epifany depends on the Holy Synod and the Bishops' Council. When it is determined, then it will occur."


Filaret also noted that he is "not interested in how many bishops support him and how many do not," because he still is taking the "straight road" of truth "for the welfare of the Ukrainian church."


At the same time, the vice-chairman of the Committee on Affairs of Culture and Religion of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada, Viktor Elensky, in a conversation with Radio Liberty, called attention to the fact that earlier, in 2018, during the discussion regarding the leadership of the PTsU, Filaret wrote to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew that he will not aspire to church offices.


It should be added that on 15 May 2019, an advisor of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and director of the National Institute of Strategic Studies, RostislavPavlenko, who took an active part in the dialogue with the patriarchate of Constantinople regarding the granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian church, declared that the tomos concerning autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine cannot be rescinded by the ecumenical patriarch, unless the conditions of the tomos are triggered. (tr. by PDS, posted 15 May 2019)



PTsU Honorary Patriarch Filaret makes harsh charges against church and secular authorities at press conference in Kiev

by Alexander Soldatov

Credo.Press, 15 May 2019


Honorary Patriarch Filaret of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU) accused the primate of the PTsU, Metropolitan Epifany, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of violating agreements, at a press conference, which he gave in the morning of 15 May in his Kiev residence. In addition, the patriarch declared that Metropolitan Epifany admits an "external administration" and his lack of freedom in making decisions for the administration of the church.


"Epifany is not administering, but he is being administered," Filaret explained. "He told me directly, 'Not everything depends on me.' That means, there are forces who are higher than you and they do not wish for what you wish for." However, the honorary patriarch evaded a direct answer to the question just who it is that administers Epifany, but from a number of his statements it became clear that he is talking about the Moscow patriarchate and the political leadership of the Russian Federation. "These are anti-Ukrainian forces that have fought against the Ukrainian autocephalous church for almost 30 years," Filaret said at the start of the meeting, explaining the reasons for the crisis in the PTsU. "Now forces with whom I built the Kiev patriarchate have clamped down on this. They respect me in words, but they say that they do not need a patriarchate."


The former primate of the UPTsKP said that an agreement that he reached with Petro Poroshenko, Metropolitan Epifany, and all bishops of the PTsU on the eve of the unification council on 15 December 2018 consisted in the fact that in the future Filaret will administer the church within Ukraine and Epifany will represent it in external relations. However immediately after the granting of the tomos concerning autocephaly, these agreements were violated and at the first session of the PTsU Synod in February, they even tried to retire Filaret. "Vladyka Epifany avoids communication with me," the PTsU honorary patriarch acknowledged. "He does not phone and he says to the outside world that he respects the patriarch and considers him to be his father. These are the words, but the deeds are the opposite."


Filaret expressed regret that in December of last year he advanced the candidacy of Epifany for the position of primate of the church. "I trusted him, that he would take a straight road, but he went awry," Filaret said. The honorary patriarch sees his task as the gradual recognition of the status of patriarchate for the PTsU, which he says even the patriarchate of Constantinople has not opposed: "Metropolitan Emmanuel [exarch of the patriarch of Constantinople who conducted the council in Kiev on 15 December] said to me that we are not obliged to clear our decisions with Constantinople after the granting to us of autocephaly," Filaret reported. "I did not deceive the ecumenical patriarch," he responded to a question from one of the participants in the press conference. "I accept the tomos, which gives to us the status of the metropolitanate of Kiev. In the future we want to have patriarchal status, but it is necessary to work on unifying into one church for that."


It is for "surrendering" the aspiration for patriarchal status that the honorary patriarch reproaches his opponents in the PTsU. "If the Ukrainian church renounces the status of a patriarchate," he says, "then there will remain in Ukraine one patriarchate—the Moscow patriarchate. We have ourselves eliminated the commemoration of the patriarchate of Kiev." Even in the UGKTs [Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church], whose patriarchal status is not recognized by Rome, they refer to their primate as a patriarch, Filaret recalled. In his opinion, the patriarchal status of the Ukrainian church is an inevitable consequence of the existence of an independent Ukrainian state. "Presidents change, but the state, the people, and the church remain," he noted.


At the same time, Filaret spoke positively about the election of Vladimir Zelensky as president of Ukraine, who visited the honorary patriarch in his residence on 30 April. "He said that he will not interfere in church affairs," Filaret reported, mentioning also the oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, whom many in Ukraine consider the chief sponsor of Zelensky: "Kolomoisky acknowledges that Filaret created the patriarchate of Kiev."


The granting of the tomos concerning the autocephaly of the metropolitanate of Kiev, in his opinion, "did not strike out" the entire history of the UPTsKP before 15 December 2018. "I am 100 percent sure," Filaret said, "that the Ukrainian church will be recognized as a patriarchate by all local Orthodox churches. . . . Rejecting the Ukrainian church is a blow to the whole of world Orthodoxy," since by way of numbers this church (in the event of the unification of all of its "branches") is second only to the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.


On the day before the press conference, the honorary patriarch of the PTsU distributed his appeal to the whole Ukrainian flock in which, point by point, he laid out the future program of his actions. (tr. by PDS, posted 15 May 2019)

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