Kiev, December 14, 2018
Following the results of tomorrow’s “unification council,” Patriarch Bartholomew intends to give a tomos of autocephaly to whomever is elected the head of the new Ukrainian church on January 6 in Constantinople, said Evstraty Zorya, the speaker for Constantinople’s “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) jurisdiction, following yesterday’s session of the KP Synod, reports BBC Ukraine.
“According to the information we received, the tomos of the Ecumenical Patriarch should be presented to the primate of the Orthodox church of Ukraine on January 6,” Zorya said.
The Divine Liturgy will be celebrated in Constantinople that day by Pat. Bartholomew and the new primate of the new church, after which the tomos will be given, the KP representative explained.
He also noted that the KP bishops will attend the “unification council” tomorrow, each bringing one cleric and one monk or layman, according to the dictates of Pat. Bartholomew. At its December 6 Synod session, the KP stated that only bishops should be allowed to vote, and that the vote should be done openly, but from Zorya’s words, it seems they have acquiesced to Constantinople’s vision for Ukraine.
The KP will present its candidate for the primacy of the new church, but the Speaker declined to name the candidate to BBC Ukraine, though other sources, such as Ukrainskaya Pravda and Interfax-Ukraine, have learned that about 30 of the approximately 40 bishops present at yesterday’s KP Synod session voted for “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, a close protégé of Philaret Denisenko who is the main architect of the nationalist-schismatic movement in Ukraine.
Epiphany’s name previously came up when Denisenko wrote a letter to Constantinople promising not to nominate himself for primate of the new church. While making that promise, he asked to be known as “Honorary Patriarch” and that his disciple Epiphany, currently the KP’s “Deputy Patriarch,” would become the new primate.
Religious scholar Alexei Smirnov commented on such a situation at that time: “In the event of his election, Philaret maintains his influence, repeating the situation of the early 90s, when Patriarch Vladimir Romaniuk was the head of the breakaway UOC-KP, but in fact the church was ruled by Philaret.”
Meanwhile the head of the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” Makary Maletich, has said he doesn’t know yet who he will support for the primacy.
Zorya also explained the voting process at the “council”: First, all the participants of the “council,” including clergy and laity, will choose the three main contenders, after which the bishops will vote for the primate by secret ballot.
The commission of representatives of the schismatic churches intending to take part in tomorrow’s “council” has also considered the draft charter written by the Synod of Constantinople, Zorya said. According to him, the draft charter passed, with some things changed and some rejected.
The text of the draft charter became known early this month, which showed that Constantinople intends to give autocephaly in name only, with the new church actually enjoying fewer rights than an autonomous Church.
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