Ukrainian church responds to Filaret's rump council


Religiia v Ukraine, 24 June 2019


On 24 June 2019, in the historic Metropolitan's House on the territory of the Holy Wisdom cathedral of Kiev, a regular session of the Synod of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU) was held. All members of the Synod participated except for Honorary Patriarch Filaret (without valid reason) and Archbishop of Donetsk and Mariupol Sergei (for valid reason). The Synod "was supposed to consider a gathering of three bishops and a small number of invited clerics and laypersons that was held on 20 June 2019 in the cathedral of St. Vladimir of Kiev." It was this gathering that Filaret called a "local council of the UPTsKP," which rescinded its previous decision terminating the activity of the UPTsKP because of its joining the PTsU, Religiia v Ukraine reports, citing


For participation "in actions intended to excite confrontation within the church environment and deliberate opposition by a collective decision . . . ," two bishops of the PTsU, Metropolitan of Belgorod and Oboian Ioasaf and Bishop of Valuiki Peter, an assistant of the Belgorod diocese of Russia, were expelled from the episcopate of the PTsU.


Metropolitan and Honorary Patriarch Filaret was stripped of canonical rights and offices connected with administration of the diocese of Kiev, although he was not expelled from the episcopate of the PTsU, "considering the special achievements [of Filaret] in the past." The Synod assigned to the primate of the PTsU, Metropolitan Epifany, all parishes and monasteries of the PTsU of the metropolia of Kiev that had previously been assigned to Filaret.


Thus as of today, Metropolitan Filaret formally is the retired honorary patriarch within the PTsU, although he himself actually left the PTsU yesterday, inasmuch as he began to create a parallel hierarchy and dioceses of the UPTsKP despite their membership within the PTsU.


As regards the "acceptance by clergy of ordination and episcopal rank without selection by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine" (referring to monastic priest Ilia Zelensky and Archimandrite Andrei Marutsaka, whom Filaret elevated to the rank of bishop without a decision of the Synod), the Synod disassociates itself from these actions, declaring that they "are a basis for categorical refusal to grant their possible request in the future to be received into the episcopate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine."


The assembly led by Filaret on 20 June, which restored the UPTsKP, was interpreted by the Synod as "not having any authority." The Synod thinks that no decisions, orders, and other documents issued in the name of the UPTs of the Kiev Patriarchate or in the name of its charter bodies after the legal registration of the Kiev metropolia of the UPTs (PTsU) on 30 January 2019 have canonical and legal force and were invalid from the start and are not subject to implementation. . . .


A number of other decisions also were adopted. A synodal Department of Sunday Schools and Catechesis was formed and Archimandrite Makary, the vicar abbot of the St. Feodosy stavropegial monastery of the city of Kiev, was appointed its chairman. In addition, implementing the decision of the Great Council of the Orthodox Church (Crete, 2016) for active support of ecological initiatives and establishments, a Day of Prayer for Protection of the Environment was established for the Sunday soonest after 1 September.


It was also decided to conduct on 27-28 July 2019 a church-wide celebration of the 1031st anniversary of the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine: an all-night vigil in the St. Michael's Golden-Domed cathedral of Kiev in the evening of 27 July, and a liturgy in the Small (Warm) Sophia in the morning of 28 July, with a procession of the cross to the monument to the Holy Equal-to-Apostles Prince Vladimir and a prayer service.


The Synod also heard a report about the visit of the head of the PTsU, Metropolitan Epifany, to the ecumenical patriarchate on 10-12 June 2019. It also made changes in the status and name of the monastery in the diocese of Vladimir-Volyn. (tr. by PDS, posted 24 June 2019)




Interfax-Religiia, 24 June 2019


The Holy Synod of the new church of Ukraine on Monday made the decision according to which its honorary patriarch, Filaret, remains a member of the PTsU episcopate but is deprived of the right to administer the diocese of Kiev.


"Taking into consideration the special achievement in the past . . . it is concluded that Honorary Patriarch Filaret remains a member of the episcopate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, although he has lost the canonical rights and responsibilities associated with administration of a diocese," says the press release regarding the results of the Synod's session, which was posted on the PTsU website.


At the same time, point 4 of the minutes of the Synod session of 5 February 2019 is cancelled, which says: "His Holiness Patriarch Filaret continues to administer the diocese of Kiev with the parishes and monasteries of Kiev (with the exception of the St. Michael's Golden-Domed monastery), which before 15 December 2018 were subordinate to him as patriarch of Kiev and all-Rus-Ukraine."


"The fact that Honorary Patriarch Filaret unilaterally makes some decision or other or involves in the legalization of these decisions some small circle of like-minded persons chosen by him does not have either canonical or legal force. Because the church is a canonically established structure and organism, and it cannot be in the church that those decisions or canons that please me I will accept and fulfill and those that do not please me I will not accept and fulfill. . . . What Honorary Patriarch Filared states regarding his affiliation with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine is not accepted by the Orthodox Church of Ukraine," the vice-chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the PTsU, Evstraty Zoria, declared.


He recalled that Filaret accepted and signed the decisions of the local council of the Kiev patriarchate regarding affiliation, taking part in the unification council, and he voted for the charter and choice of the primate and was a ruling bishop and permanent member of the Synod according to the PTsU charter, and he participated in the life of the PTsU as a hierarch, "and therefore his sudden decision to do what he has done is his responsibility."


"But the PTsU does not accept his decision. That is, from the point of view of the PTsU this is not leading to division and the creation of some separate new church or jurisdiction. This is simply the opinion of Honorary Patriarch Filaret and a small number of like-minded persons. The PTsU through these decisions leaves the doors open . . . even for those who, for some reason, have temporarily decided to leave us and to seek something else, but these doors remain open, because in fact we all are a single local Ukrainian Orthodox Church," Evstraty summed up.


The Holy Synod determined "that the meeting of persons he invited, which was unilaterally convened and conducted by Honorary Patriarch Filaret on 20 June 2019 in the Vladimir cathedral of Kiev, did not have any authority to adopt decisions, particularly regarding decisions of the local council of the UPTs of the Kiev Patriarchate (15 December 2018), which in accordance with the charter of the UPTsKP took effect immediately after they were signed by the presidium of the council led by Patriarch of Kiev and all-Rus-Ukraine Filaret."


In addition, the PTsU concluded that no decisions, orders, and other documents issued in the name of the UPTsKP or under the name of its charter bodies after the legal registration of the Kiev metropolia of the PTsU on 30 January 2019 have canonical and legal force, and they are not valid nor subject to implementation. (tr. by PDS, posted 24 June 2019)


Russia Religion News Current News Items

Editorial disclaimer: RRN does not intend to certify the accuracy of information presented in articles. RRN simply intends to certify the accuracy of the English translation of the contents of the articles as they appeared in news media of countries of the former USSR.

If material is quoted, please give credit to the publication from which it came. It is not necessary to credit this Web page. If material is transmitted electronically, please include reference to the URL,