Kiev, February 3, 2019
Epiphany Dumenko was enthroned at St. Sophia’s Cathedral in Kiev today as the “Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine” of the Ukrainian schismatic church created by Constantinople on December 15.
The “unification council” held that day combined the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” and the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” into one group, though they both continue to legally exist. Patriarch Bartholomew then granted a tomos of autocephaly to Epiphany Dumenko who was elected as primate at the “council,” in Istanbul on January 6, though no other Local Church recognizes this tomos. And today, on his 40th birthday, Epiphany was formally enthroned as primate.
As a number of outlets are reporting, including the Ukrainian site Strana, few parishioners and guests attended the enthronement Liturgy, although the police and national guard had prepared for a large crowd. No representatives from any Local Church other than Constantinople arrived for the celebration.
Although a large crowd had gathered on the square outside the cathedral on the day of the “unification council,” today the square was practically deserted, except for journalists and passers-by.
Even Philaret Denisenko, the “Honorary Patriarch” of the schismatic church and the main figure in the schismatic movement for the past thirty years, for whom Epiphany is a protégé, was not present at the ceremony, reports 24tv.ua.
Philaret, who recently turned 90, reportedly became ill, and doctors categorically forbade him from attending the service. He is under constant doctors’ supervision and he conveyed a written greeting that was read out during the service.
As was expected, no Local Church other than Constantinople was represented at the enthronement. Constantinople’s delegation included Metropolitan Emmanuel of Gaul, who had presided over the “unification council,” Metropolitan Amphilochius of Adrianople bishops of the Ukrainian Churches in America and Canada, and Abbot Alexios of Xenophontos Monastery on Mt. Athos, who can be seen in the video of the enthronement.
Abbot Ephraim of Vatopedi had been forced by Pat. Bartholomew to travel to Kiev for the ceremony, though upon arrival he suffered a heart attack and later left Ukraine for treatment in a foreign clinic.
The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church was also present, as was President Petro Poroshenko, the architect of the new church along with Pat. Bartholomew.
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