Chernivtsi, Ukraine, August 16, 2019
One of the main lobbyists for the forced and illegal reregistration of a number of parishes of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Bukhovina to the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) is the activist Maria Filipchuk, who is, in fact, a member of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church (UGCC), according to the Ukrainian Telegram and YouTube channel Pravblog.
Yesterday, supporters of the schismatic OCU broke into the Chernivtsi Province State Administration building, demanding to forcibly reregister several communities of the canonical Church as communities of the OCU.
The negotiations with the administrative representatives was led by Filipchuk, who openly acknowledges that she is not even a member of the OCU, but rather of the Uniate church, as can be seen in the video published by Pravblog. She explained her involvement in the affairs of another church by her so-called Ukrainian “patriotism.” The OCU grew out of the several decades of the anti-Russian Ukrainian schismatic movement.
Filipchuk also emphasized that she believes Orthodoxy and Uniatism are really the same thing, with common rites and a common history.
Svyatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Uniate, and Epiphany Dumenko, the head of the OCU, have spoken of their desire to cooperate with one another and to eventually unite in a single autocephalous church in Ukraine.
“This is what Shevchuk (the head of the UGCC) said at the meeting with the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, stressing that the creation of Epiphany’s organization is only the first stage. The second phase will be its unification with the UGCC in a ‘united church of Vladimir’s baptism,’” states Pravblog.
Shevchuk earlier said that the idea of restored Eucharistic communion between the Orthodox and Uniates is their “joyful prospect.” For now, the new Ukrainian schismatic church and the Ukrainian Uniates have developed a road map for cooperation in various areas, “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko explained.
Against this background, Filipchuk’s activity could become a template for moving towards this hope-for merger, Pravblog conjectures.