Internal strife in “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” continues as former UAOC head accuses Philaret Denisenko of disobedience to Constantinople

Lvov, Ukraine, January 14, 2019

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Makary Maletich, formerly the head of the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” (UAOC), has refused the proposal of Lvov Mayor Andrei Sadovy to accept the title of honorary citizen of the city together with Philaret Denisenko, formerly the head of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) whom he accuses of disobedience to the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The UAOC and KP united into one schismatic structure at December 15’s “unification council,” though, as OrthoChristian has previously reported, they continue to largely operate as two separate structures. The news of Makary turning down the honor from Lvov comes from the UAOC’s website, which continues to operate as a separate website.

Although both groups agreed to self-dissolve before the “council,” they both still legally exist, and nothing on their websites has changed—the same hierarchs are in charge of all the same departments, for example. The new “church” even has 3 overlapping bishops in Vinnitsa—from the KP, from the UAOC, and the apostate Simeon Shostatsky who left the canonical Church.

The UAOC website notes that neither Makary nor Philaret were in Istanbul on January 6 for the granting of the tomos by Patriarch Bartholomew to the new Ukrainian nationalist church, and that, in general, few hierarchs were present, also due to Philaret’s disobedience.

Despite the fact that the new structure created by Constantinople is a metropolitanate rather than a patriarchate, and despite the fact that Epiphany Dumenko was elected as the primate instead of Philaret Denisenko, and despite the fact that Constantinople has explicitly instructed Denisenko to stop dressing and presenting himself as a Patriarch, he has repeatedly insisted that he was, is, and always will be a “Patriarch.”

He has also insisted that he will continue to guide the new “church.” Patriarchal Exarch Archbishop Daniel of Pamphylia even commented in a recent interview with the BBC that he had to ask Philaret to let Epiphany function as primate, though there is no indication as yet that Philaret has complied.

As the site explains, Makary’s absence on January 6 was due to Philaret’s refusal to accept the metropolitan structure of the new “church” and to stop wearing his patriarchal kukol, the white headgear. Philaret did temporarily remove his kukol for the “unification council” but began wearing it again immediately thereafter.

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