Kiev, December 10, 2018
Just five days before the so-called “unification council” is scheduled to take place, the division within the Patriarchate of Constantinople is becoming clearer and more prominent.
While Patriarch Bartholomew’s letters of invitation to the council stipulate that each bishop should bring one priest and one layman with him, the Holy Synod of the “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) which has been a part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople since October 11, declared this impermissible.
As OrthoChristian previously reported, the KP believes only Ukrainian bishops should take part in the voting process.
Now Philaret Denisenko, the leader of the KP, has openly addressed the discrepancy, saying that if the conditions of the council will not be beneficial to his group and to Ukraine, then they simply won’t vote, reports the Ukrainian news station TSN.
Philaret spoke of two major disagreements with his primate in Constantinople: Firstly, as aforementioned, the KP believes only bishops should participate in the council’s work, while Constantinople has explicitly invited clergy and laity as well, and secondly, Philaret demands that the voting for the primate of the new church be open, while Constantinople wants a secret ballot.
“The Kiev Patriarchate is the largest Church,” Philaret said [though the canonical Ukrainian Church is larger—OC], “and it depends on us whether we will accept what is being offered or not.”
“If it will beneficial for us, then we will participate, but if it won’t be beneficial for us, for the state, or for the Ukrainian Church, we simply won’t vote and we will reject it,” Philaret declared.
For those who understand Ukrainian, watch TSN’s report below:
Recall that, hierarchs of the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” which was also subsumed into Constantinople on October 11, have repeatedly stated that there has been no progress towards holding the “unification council” due to Philaret’s stubbornness.
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