Orthodox in Ukraine face disruptive actions by Filaret


RISU, 17 June 2019


An exclusive copy of an invitation that Honorary Patriarch Filaret is sending to bishops of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU) has appeared in the possession of Cerkvarium.


The invitation is printed on the letterhead of the nonexistent Kiev Patriarchate.


Vladyka Filaret is planning to conduct on 20 June in the Vladimir cathedral of the city of Kiev a so-called "Local Council of the UPTsKP" and to reconsider the decisions of the local council of the UPTsKP of 15 December 218, which opened the path to the unification of the divided Orthodox believers into a united Orthodox Church of Ukraine, as a result of which the tomos concerning autocephaly and recognition on the part of the ecumenical patriarchate were received. Honorary Patriarch Filaret remained discontented with this and decided to revive the UPTsKP and to make himself not the honorary but the ruling patriarch.


We recall that Filaret summoned the capital clergy to the so-called "Local council of the UPTsKP" and those who do not attend are threatened with being deprived of their parish. The PTsU has already declared that in the event of the occurrence of the so-called "Local council of the UPTsKP," all of its participants will receive appropriate canonical and legal punishment. (tr. by PDS, posted 18 June 2019)



RISU, 18 June 2019


Archbishop of Chernigov and Nezhin of the PTsU, the vice-chairman of the office of external church relations of the PTsU, Evstraty Zorya, in an interview with "Hour" on Channel 5, commented on the decision of Honorary Patriarch Filaret to convene a council of the Kiev patriarchate on 20 June.


"This assembly cannot in any case be a local council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UPTsKP) for several reasons. First, according to the decision of the genuine local council of the UPTsKP of 15 December it was decided that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate, as a religious association, ceased its activity by means of association and unification with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine that was being created. I was, and the entire episcopate was at this council and there were delegates from the clergy and laity and they were all those who then participated in the unification council. And there are documents, videos, and numerous witnesses of the fact that the decision was made openly by the agreement of all. Only one voted against," the hierarch emphasized.


He continued: "According to this decision, consequently, the charter bodies ceased their activity and the charter of the UPTsKP ceased to be valid. Even according to the charter of the Kiev patriarchate, if one reads it, it is indicated there that a local council and a bishops' council are convened by the patriarch along with the Holy Synod. There is no Holy Synod of the Kiev patriarchate. All members of the Holy Synod of the KP, who were its members on 15 December, with the exception of Patriarch Filaret and the Metropolitan of Belgorod in Russia, do not support such a development of events in any way. And therefore this assembly of which we hear from the honorary patriarch under the name of a local council actually is an assembly of some persons invited in some unknown way to something that may be called whatever, but it definitely will not be a local council of the Kiev patriarchate," Zorya said.


To the announcer's question just why there is talk about some supposed schism in the PTsU, Evstraty Zorya said: "First, influences on the part of Russia have intensified. They began to operate from within and, knowing the weak points for the patriarch, through several people they began simply to give him ideas, because I am absolutely sure one must clearly understand: the patriarch is not working in the interests of Moscow, and he thinks that what he is doing will somehow save the unity and identity of the Ukrainian church, but unfortunately his vision that he voiced is very far from reality. And it is very regrettable to talk about this, but from many people, not my personal impression, but from many specialists one can hear that their impression is that what is happening to a substantial degree is connected with age-related changes that are typical for people of very advanced age."


Archbishop Evstraty also commented on information in news media about the fact that Constantinople supposedly may apply sanctions against Patriarch Filaret: "I think that this is simply speculation. Patriarch Filaret is a hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, not the Constantinople patriarchate. And therefore all decisions affecting the PTsU are made by the Ukrainian church." (tr. by PDS, posted 18 June 2019)



Religiia v Ukraine, 18 June 2019


The head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU), Metropolitan Epifany, commented in a broadcast on Radio NV on 14 June about statements by Metropolitan Filaret, the honorary patriarch of the PTsU, concerning his nonrecognition of the tomos concerning the autocephaly of the PTsU and the restoration of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UPTsKP) in connection with this, Religiia v Ukraine reports, citing


"Speaking now about the fact that somebody did not know what were the conditions provided in the tomos is incorrect. Because this all was laid out in the charter at the unification council that was held on 15 December. Everybody clearly knew about the questions that now are being articulated and for whom, unfortunately, they are turning out to be displeasing. They really were discussed on the eve of the council and everybody knew very well just what would be written in the historic document that bears the title of tomos," Metropolitan Epifany noted.


He said that all the rest is the personal opinion of Honorary Patriarch Filaret, and these statements that are now being sounded are, to a certain degree, provocations.


"We all are striving so that Honorary Patriarch Filaret will heed the voice of the church and not rely on his personal opinion, on his own vision of the future development of the local Orthodox Ukrainian Church," the metropolitan added.


The head of the PTsU also would not wish for punishment of Honorary Patriarch Filaret for his statements. "I would not wish to talk about specific punishments. Now he can select for himself the only possible punishment, which is to separate himself and once again go off into isolation from the church that received the tomos, from the church that is gradually receiving recognition on the part of other Orthodox churches," the primate emphasized.


He said that a decision regarding punishment can be made only by a bishops' council or a local council, since the PTsU is governed collegially. "I would not want to forecast specific punishments for those persons who may leave our church," Metropolitan Epifany noted.


During the broadcast the primate of the PTsU identified the reason for disagreements with Honorary Patriarch Filaret, who wants to be the sole beneficiary of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. "After the unification council and after receiving the tomos we had certain differences arise in the future vision of the development of a united local Orthodox church in models of administration of the church which had unified," the metropolitan reported.


He said that the so-called shareholders of the tomos are not any specific persons but the Ukrainian people. "But now we see that just one beneficiary wishes to be the sole specific subject (Filaret—ed.), the one specific shareholder. But we wish for this church to be governed collegially in the future and not unilaterally. . . . Unfortunately certain power ambitions on the part of Honorary Patriarch Filaret wish to destroy the century-old hopes of the Ukrainian people to have their own local Orthodox church," the head of the PTsU added. (tr. by PDS, posted 19 June 2019)

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