Kiev, October 22, 2018
The head of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), “Archbishop” Makary (Maletich), doubts the success of the unification process between his schismatic group and the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP).
Makary previously spoke in an interview with ZIK television about the obstinacy of Philaret Denisenko, the head of the KP, that is making the unification process difficult, and now he has addressed the matter again in an interview with Espresso TV.
The UAOC head also expressed his misgivings about recent actions from President Poroshenko.
Everyone is talking about the unification council, Makary notes—including journalists, Poroshenko, KP Speaker Evstraty Zorya, but there are three important principles of formation of the longed-for united Church structure that have yet to be resolved: its name, its statutes, and its model.
In his previous interview, Makary noted that Philaret insists that everything be done his way. A 2015 attempt to reunite was also derailed by Philaret’s inability to negotiate.
According to the head of the UAOC, there are not even any negotiations underway on these matters, and after his last meeting with Philaret, which Makary spoke of in his previous interview as well, he began to doubt the success of the unification process.
“I want to unite everyone, so solemnly, in the whole world,” Makary said. “May God grant that it would happen, but I have my doubts already. I didn’t have any doubts, but after Sunday, I have do.”
The “Archbishop” also stressed that he and his clergy are not ready for the hoped-for unification Council: “Neither I, nor my bishops, nor my priests are ready.”
He also takes issue with the timeline that Patriarch Bartholomew’s Exarchs are trying to impose: “I told the exarchs we needed two weeks for an agreement, but they said that’s a long time. But how to do it quicker if there are no statutes or a name, I don’t know. So I’ll gather my priests and deacons, and what should I tell them?”
Makary now believes the way out of this situation is for Pat. Bartholomew to intervene and simply appoint a metropolitan to whom he can give a tomos of autocephaly, and then who ever desires, can unite around him.
The UAOC head also explained that he is disappointed in Poroshenko’s cunning, even though he had previously praised him.
In the issue of the transfer of St. Andrew’s Church from the UAOC to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Makary acted consistently, he says, but not Poroshenko, who just the day before the Ukrainian Parliament approved of the transfer had stressed that churches belong to the state and won’t be transferred to anyone.
Makary told the president that he personally agreed to the transfer, but that he could not act alone—he would have to gather the Synod of Bishops of the UAOC to approve the matter. Makary also expressed that they needed something in return for the church. But the president then stated on television that only one church would be supplied for both Philaret’s and Makary’s groups. “But you have to be consistent,” Makary commented, “You could fool me once, twice, but that’s it.”
“The Moscow [churches] won’t be transferred, but the UAOC’s only cathedral could be transferred. Such is justice,” Makary said. “But Philaret has monasteries, churches… So the president is a bit disingenuous, although I had praised him.”
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