"BAD EXAMPLE FOR BISHOPS OF CHURCH." FILARET ACCUSES EPIFANY OF VIOLATION OF CANONS WHICH WILL LEAD TO DESTRUCTION OF P.Ts.U.
Gordon, 31 May 2019
The primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU), Metropolitan Epifany, issued an order according to which documents of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UPTsKP) issued after 30 January 2019 are considered invalid. The honorary patriarch of the PTsU, the former primate of UPTsKP, Filaret, declared that such actions of Epifany will not lead to "the unity of the church and of the whole of Ukrainian Orthodoxy."
The honorary patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the former primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate, Filaret, accused the PTsU primate, Epifany, of violation of Orthodox Tradition and canons. This was stated in a letter that Filaret sent to Epifany.
"I received your order concerning the acceptance into your diocese of Archpriest Alexander Trofimliuk (who was banned from the clergy by me) and the parish of the Holy Protection on Solomenok, with its clergy, without a certificate of dismissal. This gives me occasion to express my regret that you have begun your ministry as primate with a violation of your episcopal oath and of Orthodox church tradition and thereby you give a bad example for the bishops of our church," the letter says.
In Filaret's opinion, such actions by Epifany will not lead to "the unity of the church and of the whole of Ukrainian Orthodoxy."
"They can lead to the destruction of that which led to the grant of a tomos concerning autocephaly and to your election to the office of primate," he added.
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine was created at a unification council on 15 December 2018 in which all bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAPTs) participated, as well as two bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UPTsMP). On 5 January 2019, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew signed a tomos concerning the autocephaly of the PTsU and on 6 January he delivered it to the primate of the PTsU, Metropolitan Epifany, in Istanbul. The enthronement of Epifany was held on 3 February 2019.
In May, a conflict arose between Filaret and Epifany. The honorary patriarch of the PTsU declared that the Kiev patriarchate had not been liquidated and it permitted the separation of the UPTsKP from the PTsU.
According to Filaret, before the unification council an agreement had been reached that the patriarch will administer church activity within the country and the primate will be responsible for external representation of the PTsU. These agreements were not kept by the primate of the PTsU, Filaret noted.
Epifany stated that it is incorrect to speak of the restoration of the Kiev patriarchate, inasmuch as this could lead to the isolation of the PTsU and the cancellation of its tomos concerning autocephaly and "of all the achievements of church independence." He assured that there is no schism in the PTsU.
On 24 May, a Synod of the PTsU was held in Kiev. Regarding its results, Epifany noted that the bishops had not managed to persuade Filaret that the UPTsKP "legally and actually already does not exist."
After the Synod, Filaret suggested that "anti-Ukrainian and Muscovite forces" are influencing Epifany.
At the same time, on 25 May Filaret participated in a liturgy on the name day (day of the angel) of Epifany, where they prayed together.
On 29 May it was learned that Epifany issued an order according to which the documents of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate that were issued after 30 January 2019 are considered invalid. He noted that Filaret did not prepare and did not submit documents for the reregistration of the Kiev diocese of the PTsU, which he administers. (tr. by PDS, posted 31 May 2019)
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