Ukrainian parishes that switch are moving to the “Kiev Patriarchate,” not the new “church”

Kiev, January 22, 2019

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Those former parishes of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) that hold meetings under the slogan of transferring to the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU), created by Constantinople on December 15, are actually switching to the “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP), reports Archpriest Alexander Bakhov, the head of the Ukrainian Church’s legal department wrote on his Facebook page on Monday, January 20.

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As Fr. Alexander writes, the OCU has not yet been registered with the state and therefore does not legally exist for parishes to transfer to. “But they ‘transfer’ somewhere,” Fr. Alexander writes. “So I decided to find out what was going on.”

“And what did I see? The chairmen of the regional and village councils are holding meetings of their residents, where under the slogan of transferring to the ‘Orthodox Church of Ukraine-Patriarchate of Constantinople’ they change the subordination of religious communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, but in fact what happens is a ‘transfer’ to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev Patriarchate,” explained the priest and lawyer.

The KP and the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” (UAOC) united into the OCU at the “unification council” on December 15. The Patriarchate of Constantinople, which held the “council,” stipulated that each group had to self-dissolve before the “council” could be held. Relevant orders were signed, but, in fact, both groups continually to legally exist as separate entities, and the hierarchies from each group continue to operate largely independent of one another, as OrthoChristian has reported.

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The KP was far larger and more influential than the UAOC and, in fact, the head of the KP, Philaret Denisenko, the anathematized former Metropolitan of Kiev, considers the new structure little more than an expansion of the KP, and he has declared himself the head of the new structure despite the fact that his protégé Epiphany Dumenko was elected as its primate.

In his post, Fr. Alexander presents a recent example from the village of Vorsovka in the Malinsky Region of the Zhytomyr Province, where the territorial community voted on January 11 to switch from the UOC to the OCU, but for some reason, as of January 20, the parish belonged to the KP.

Fr. Alexander also published information from the site of the United State Registry of Legal Entities, Individual Entrepreneurs, and Social Groups, where the given religious community is listed as belonging to the KP.

“In fact, Philaret only need the Tomos [of autocephaly—O.C.] as a brand to fill up his structure with new parishes. Read and think about how only the scenery has changed,” Fr. Alexander writes.

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