Kiev, August 9, 2019
The battle of the schismatics continues in Ukraine. Following on the heels of its Synod’s decision to officially liquidate the “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP), the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) has ramped up the re-registering of KP properties to its own jurisdiction.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture also announced the liquidation of the KP.
“Patriarch” Philaret Denisenko, the head of the KP, stood at the forefront of the Ukrainian schismatic movement for 30 years and personally mentored and ordained “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, the primate of the OCU. However, as the Union of Orthodox Journalists reports, Epiphany has now taken two important Kiev monasteries away from his mentor.
The OCU Synod previously removed Philaret as head of the Kiev Diocese after he left the OCU to revive his KP.
The United Register of Legal Entities already reflects the changes in the status of the St. Theodosius and St. Michael’s Vidubitsky Monasteries.
The re-registration of the historic St. Michael’s Monastery comes as no surprise, given that Epiphany himself has served as abbot even since before the December creation of the OCU. Nevertheless, it still represents a significant loss for the KP. The monastery was established between 1070 and 1077 by Vsevolod, the son of Yaroslav the Wise.
A bigger blow for Philaret and the KP is St. Theodosius’ Monastery. According to the register, the abbot remains Nikolai Papish, although Philaret had earlier released him, and the date of the completion of the authorized capital is listed as December 30, 1899. How the data for these monasteries, formerly of the KP, was legally changed remains unclear. It is also unclear how the Synod of the OCU acquired the legal right to dissolve the KP as a whole.
Moreover, the founder of both monasteries is listed in the register as “The religious organization, the ‘Kiev Metropolia of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Orthodox Church of Ukraine),’” although the OCU appeared as a legal entity much later than the date of registration of both monasteries.
With earlier re-registrations of KP legal entities (mainly dioceses), the founder was still recorded as the “Kiev Patriarchate UOC-KP.” Presumably the OCU is now being listed as founder because the KP is, legally speaking, in a state of liquidation.
Philaret held a Local Council of his revived KP in Kiev on June 20, at which Archimandrite Andrei Marutsak, the treasurer of St. Theodosius’ Monastery was elected as bishop. He was consecrated on June 23, and Philaret issued a decree releasing Papish as abbot of St. Theodosius Monastery and replacing him with Marutsak because the brotherhood had petitioned to join the OCU.
Epiphany Dumenko had already suspended Marutsak even before his consecration.
Philaret has already turned to the courts to stop the liquidation of the KP, and is expected to continue to fight for jurisdiction over the monasteries as well.