Kiev, May 8, 2018
The head of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate,” “Patriarch” Philaret Denisenko has declared that he will be the head of the united autocephalous Ukrainian Church that he believes the Ecumenical Patriarch will grant, and that the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras will be taken from the already-existing canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and be given by the state to his “church.”
The former metropolitan of Kiev, excommunicated and anathematized by the Russian Church for creating a schismatic body, addressed these issues in an interview on the website of his confession, reports The Union of Orthodox Journalists.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko recently appealed to the His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to grant a tomos of autocephaly to a unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church. His appeal was delivered with the backing of the Ukrainian Parliament and the hierarchs of Ukraine’s two schismatic “Orthodox” bodies—the “Kiev Patriarchate” and the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church”—which exist as supports for Ukrainian nationalism, fueled by anti-Russian sentiments.
The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate then resolved to initiate a dialogue on the issue of Ukrainian autocephaly with the other Autocephalous Orthodox Churches.
Philaret stressed that he is going to claim the place of the Primate of the new Ukrainian Church, “because it is necessary to complete the difficult task of uniting the Church,” and that “in the name of unity of the Church,” he is ready to forget everything “done to him” and what “has been said about him in the Moscow Patriarchate.”
As the metropolitan of Kiev, Philaret himself was under the Moscow Patriarchate, and was one of the candidates for the patriarchal throne in 1990 but he was not chosen. In 1991, he appealed to the Moscow Patriarchate, being under its jurisdiction, for autocephaly for the Ukrainian Church. The request was denied, and Philaret disobediently created the KP in June 1992.
The canonical Ukrainian Church held a council in Kharkov in May 1992, deposing Philaret and banning him from clerical functions, and Met. Vladimir was elected as the Ukrainian primate. This decision was recognized and supported by the entire Orthodox world. Philaret was invited to the council but did not attend, then going into schism.
He now claims that it was the Ukrainian Church that left him.
He also believes that as the ancient and holy sites of the Kiev Caves Lavra and the Pochaev Lavra officially belong to the state, they should and will be transferred to his jurisdiction: “You want to ask, ‘Who will own the Kiev Caves Lavra and the Pochaev Lavra? I Answer, ‘The Ukrainian Orthodox Church.’ It is the property of the state, and it has the right to transfer these Ukrainian holy sites. To whom? To the Russian Church’s exarchate or to its own Church? Of course, to the Ukrainian. There is no other option. Everything will be according to the law.”
These holy sites, and especially the Kiev Caves Lavra, have constantly been under threat by Ukrainian nationalist-radicals, who have repeatedly declared their intention to seize the holy site from the Ukrainian faithful and give it to schismatics.
In addition to the holy sites, Philaret is also claiming the title of “Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” which of course already belongs to the canonical Church in Ukraine.
Denisenko also took credit for the prisoner exchange that took place in late December, although it came about by the mediation of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry. President Poroshenko himself even thanked Met. Onuphry for the canonical Church’s work in bringing about the prisoner exchange.
The schismatic hierarch also shared his prediction that Ukraine will win its “war against Russia” and join the European Union, as he says has been prophesied by Athonite elders, with Ukraine coming to play a dominant role in world Orthodoxy.
Speaking to the russophobia and anti-Russian sentiments that fuel the move for an autocephalous Ukrainian Church, Philaret went on to say, “Nothing terrible will happen. Even if Putin decides to use nuclear weapons somewhere, to go on the offensive in Donbass, and so on, nothing terrible will happen.”
Follow us on Facebook!