Kiev, October 17, 2018
The leaders of the two schismatic Orthodox bodies in Ukraine are unable to come to a common vision of how to structure their new united church, to which the Ecumenical Patriarchate would then grant autocephaly, Makary (Maletich), the head of the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” has said.
As “Metropolitan” Makary explained in an interview yesterday with the ZIK television station, posted by the Union of Orthodox Journalists, the other schismatic leader, “Patriarch” Philaret Denisenko of the “Kiev Patriarchate,” has given him no say in the new church’s statutes, its status, or its name.
“The name already exists, and you should join,” Makary said, quoting Philaret.
“Patriarch Philaret addressed me, saying, ‘We need to urgently call a Council.’ I told him, ‘There’s no statute for calling a Council,’—‘I have a statute.’—‘I have one too, but we need to make one out of the two.’—‘No, it will be my statute,” Makary said, recounting their conversation.
As he explained, the status of the new church also remains unclear: “[Another] question is—what’s the status, what’s the model? When I asked if the metropolia will be a metropolia, he angrily said, there won’t be a metropolia, but a patriarchate. The Exarchs aren’t saying anything about anything.”
On Thursday, October 11, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced that it was revoking the 1686 document that transferred the Kiev Metropolia to the Russian Orthodox Church, thus placing Kiev under its own authority again. Its status beyond that was not clarified in the statement.
Further, Denisenko and Maletich were “canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank.” Denisenko was a Metropolitan while in the canonical Church, and Maletich a priest. They were elevated to Patriarch and Metropolitan respectively in their schismatic bodies. Their precise status was also not clarified in the statement.
However, Archbishop Job (Getcha) of Telmessos has commented that Constantinople considers Denisenko to be a metropolitan. Commenting in a Facebook discussion with Deacon Andrei Kuraev of the Russian Church, Abp. Job stated that Denisenko is considered “the former Metropolitan of Kiev.”
However, in an October 11th press conference just after Constantinople announced its decision, Philaret declared, “I was a patriarch, I am, and I will be.” He repeated the same conviction at a moleben on October 14.
Meanwhile, his church has as yet failed to implement Constantinople’s decision. Philaret is still commemorated at services as “Patriarch,” and His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is not being commemorated.
Maletich could not say when the unification council will take place or its odds for success, stressing that it is too early to talk about it, because no discussion on the current issues is taking place.
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