Kiev, June 20, 2019
Philaret Denisenko, the longtime “Patriarch” of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) and “Honorary Patriarch” of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU), held a Local Council of the KP at St. Vladimir’s Cathedral in Kiev today.
As earlier reported, Philaret was supported and accompanied by three other “hierarchs” who had joined the OCU from the KP, all from dioceses outside of Ukraine. The bishops were joined by a number of clergymen, more than 200 delegates, and about 50 guests.
The participants in the Local Council drew up a 10-point resolution, which has been published by the Ukrainian outlet Strana.ua. In particular, the Council rejects the liquidation of the KP, which, they argue, therefore invalidates the “unification council” held on December 15, and they reject the tomos granted by Constantinople to the OCU on January 6.
The 10 points are summarized as follows:
- The Local Council rejects the liquidation of the KP on December 15, as it was decided upon merely by a collection of signatures at the demand of Constantinople, not by a Local Council, as the statutes stipulate. Without the liquidation of the KP, there could be neither a unification council nor the provision of a tomos of autocephaly.
Recall that “Metropolitan” Makary Maletich has also revealed that his “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” has also not been legally dissolved. As the liquidation of these two bodies was a prerequisite for the “unification council” stipulated by Constantinople, the “council’s” status should be uncertain even in the eyes of Constantinople.
- The KP is legally registered with the state authorities and continues its existence and activities for the benefit of the Ukrainian people.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Justice confirmed in May that the KP still exists in the state registry.
- The head of the KP continues to be Philaret Denisenko, elected for life by the KP Local Council of October 20-22, 1995.
- The KP continues to be the owner of all funds and properties transferred to it by the relevant authorities, including churches, monasteries, educational institutions, etc., according to the relevant contracts and agreements. All bank accounts are also the property of the KP as a legal entity.
- All the monasteries and parishes of the Kiev Diocese belong to the management of the KP, including St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, where “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko of the OCU currently serves. The Kiev Theological Academy, founded by Philaret in 1992, continues to belong to the KP.
The first session of the Synod of Bishops of the OCU placed Philaret in charge of its Kiev Diocese in February, with the exception of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, which remained directly under Epiphany Dumenko. Thus, there is sure to be a heated battle for the monastery and its cathedral.
- The KP continues to own all dioceses, monasteries, religious educational institutions, brotherhoods, and missions that are legally registered to the KP. Those entities that have been re-registered to the OCU but would like to be part of the KP may do so. The KP also retains all of its dioceses and parishes abroad.
- The tomos of autocephaly issued by Constantinople on January 6 does not correspond to the statues of autocephalous Churches, and thus makes the OCU dependent upon the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
- The Local Council is grateful to Patriarch Bartholomew and the Patriarchate for attempting to solve the Ukrainian ecclesiastical problem but is not satisfied with the contents of the tomos of autocephaly.
- The KP continues to use the statutes adopted in council on May 13, 2016 and legally registered with the Ministry of Culture on July 8, 2016.
- The Local Council calls on all patriots to support the KP as it faces attempts to destroy it from within, which causes its enemies to rejoice. “But the truth is with us, so God is with us,” the statement concludes.
The resolution was unanimously adopted by the Council, as well as an address to President Vladimir Zelensky.
Moreover, new bishops were chosen, with Philaret himself proposing two candidates: Fr. Andrei, the treasurer of the St. Theodosius Monastery, and a representative of the Kharkov Diocese of the KP.
Finally, Philaret declared that there is no need to worry that the KP is not recognized. “We don’t need the church for recognition, but that it would be holy and apostolic,” he said.
Conversely, Philaret recently declared that the OCU is non-canonical precisely because it is not recognized by any Local Churches other than Constantionple.
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