Kiev, May 15, 2019
It is routine for the Ukrainian nationalist supporters of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) to blame the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian government for the troubles it faces, being as yet unrecognized by any Local Church except that of Constantinople.
However, “Patriarch” Philaret Denisenko now also believes that Moscow is working with the bishops of the schismatic church itself in order to prevent the recreation of the “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) that he led from 1995 until last December when the KP joined the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” to create the still schismatic OCU.
The “Honorary Patriarch” spoke about the Russian Church’s supposed interference in his plans to revive the KP during the press conference that he held today.
“Anti-Ukrainian forces have been fighting the Ukrainian autocephalous church for 30 years already and cannot defeat it,” Philaret said. “On the contrary, the Ukrainian church has grown, has strengthened, and has shown its strength in the war that is now going on in the east, and has gained credibility throughout Ukraine. Therefore, they want to destroy this church with their own hands,” Philaret said, referring to OCU bishops who had come from the KP who now stand against his plans to revive the KP.
Philaret had invited dozens of bishops to celebrate the memory of St. Makary of Kiev with him at St. Vladimir Cathedral in Kiev yesterday. It was intended to be a show of power, a gathering of those OCU bishops who continue to stand with Philaret and the recreation of the KP, though, in the end, only four bishops accepted Philaret’s invitation.
As he explained, these external forces working against the Ukrainian church are the Moscow Patriarchate and the Patriarch of Moscow personally, “who has been fighting with [Philaret] since 1992 and cannot win.”
“Now they’re gathering the forces with whom I built the Kiev Patriarchate. But they don’t openly oppose Patriarch Philaret, but say: We respect him, he is so respected, he’s done so much, but we don’t need the Kiev Patriarchate. Why don’t you need the Kiev Patriarchate? You built it together with the patriarch? Why are you renouncing what you built? Do you understand what you’re doing? You’re destroying what you created, which led to the provision of the tomos, because if not for the Kiev Patriarchate, there would be no tomos,” Philaret proclaimed.
As he explained, many representatives of the OCU now believe that in order to gain the recognition of other Local Churches, the KP must be entirely liquidated. “But this is not true,” Philaret believes. Just before the “unification council” on December 15, Philaret promised to liquidate the KP, but it still legally exists.
“There are many reasons for this non-recognition, but the main reason is Moscow,” Philaret said, ignoring the canonical arguments that had been laid out by the Synods and representatives of several Local Churches. “[Moscow] is working among other Orthodox Churches, and it is active within Ukraine, but not even through the Moscow Patriarchate, but through us, when our own hierarchs come out against what they created—against the Kiev Patriarchate,” he continued.
In this regard, the main task today is to maintain unity and to bring all Orthodox groups in Ukraine into one group to develop the Ukrainian Church into a patriarchate recognized by all.
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