Kiev, December 17, 2018
The newly-elected primate of the new Ukrainian church, created at Saturday’s “unification council” in Kiev, celebrated his first Divine Liturgy as primate on Sunday in St. Michael’s Church in Kiev.
According to the order of the Divine Liturgy, a primate of a Local Church commemorates all his brother primates with whom he is in communion at the Great Entrance. Notably, “Metropolitan” Epiphany, the new primate, commemorated the First Hierarchs of all the Local Orthodox Churches, except His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Church.
As Orthodoxia.info reports, the service was broadcast live. The relevant portion of the video from Radio Liberty begins at 1:03:17:
Epiphany can be heard clearly commemorating Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria, Patriarch John of Antioch, and Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, followed by Patriarch Irinej of Serbia in the spot where Pat. Kirill should have been commemorated. He then commemorates the heads of all the rest of the Churches.
Of course, the Russian Church has severed communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople over its anti-canonical intrusion into the canonical territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and thus Pat. Kirill does not commemorate Pat. Bartholomew, but Constantinople has made a point of not reciprocating, in order to paint the Russian Church as the aggressor in the situation, and thus Pat. Bartholomew continues to commemorate Pat. Kirill.
Archbishop Job Getcha, a hierarch of the Patriarchate of Constantinople took note of Epiphany’s choice not to commemorate Pat. Kirill, expressing his disappointment by sharing a link to BBC Ukraine’s report about it on Facebook with the short comment: “Καλή αρχή; Хороший початок?”—“Good start?”
Epiphany’s decision complicates matters for Constantinople, which now faces the task of convincing the world’s Orthodox Churches to accept communion with the newly-created church headed by Epiphany “of Kiev and All Ukraine,” and to cease recognizing His Beatitude Onuphry as the legitimate Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.
As OrthoChristian reported yesterday, the mere election of Epiphany complicates matters, as he was ordained as a priest and consecrated as a bishop in the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate”—a group unrecognized by the entire Orthodox world. Constantinople and the Ukrainian state used intimidation tactics to try to get Simeon of Vinnitsa, formerly of the canonical Church, elected, though unsuccessfully.
By intentionally not commemorating Pat. Kirill, Epiphany only reinforces the new church’s nationalist identity. President Petro Poroshenko has repeatedly stated that an autocephalous Ukrainian church is part of his political strategy, which he repeated most recently in a press conference yesterday, according to the official site of the President of Ukraine.
Moreover, while speaking to a crowd gathered outside St. Sophia’s Church in Kiev following the election of the new primate, President Poroshenko exclaimed: “What is this church? This is a church without Putin. What is this church? This is a church without Kirill,” again, according to his official site.
Meanwhile, Epiphany was commemorated for the first time by Pat. Bartholomew on Sunday, reports BBC Ukraine.
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