Kiev, May 16, 2019
Alexander Drabinko, a former metropolitan of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, was one of only two hierarchs, along with Simeon Shostatsky, former metropolitan of Vinnitsa, who defected from the canonical Church and attended Constantinople’s “unification council” in December that created a new schismatic body, the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU).
Both Drabinko and Shostatsky were known sympathizers with the schismatic autocephaly movement and none were surprised that they attended the “council” and defected.
However, now Drabinko says that had he known about everything going on behind the scenes, he might very well have not attended the “council.” This statement came in his comments on the public conflict between “Patriarch” Philaret Denisenko and the primate of the OCU “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko an interview given to the Ukrainian site Gromadske yesterday.
According to the former metropolitan, the conflict embroiling the OCU now actually began on day one at the “unification council.” All of the gathered bishops waited for Philaret and his “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) bishops who waivered on whether or not to dissolve the KP, as Constantinople required.
“Vladyka Emmanuel, who represented the Ecumenical Patriarch, was very annoyed by such a position, the reluctance to dissolve the KP, and it even came to rather non-constructive remarks about one another. It was then that everyone understood that Patriarch Philaret’s position would have a place,” Drabinko recalled.
Concerning Philaret’s statements to the effect that he should govern the OCU, with Epiphany only representing it at external functions, Drabinko stated: “I don’t rule out that these agreements could have taken place. However, no one told the fullness of the local council about these agreements. Those present didn’t know about the agreements.”
“If this information had been conveyed to the bishop of the UOC, to the laity who represented the UOC with us, to the autocephalous bishops and laity—we don’t know how future events would have taken place,” the former canonical bishop commented.
Further, Drabinko did not rule out that he might not have knowingly attended such a council: “I don’t rule out that I wouldn’t have taken part in a council that would propose that the primate not be willingly chosen as primate of the church, but the self-appointed Patriarch Philaret, according to some agreements.”
Moreover, the open conflict between the “Honorary Patriarch” Philaret and “Metropolitan” Epiphany shows that world that something is wrong within the OCU, Drabinko believes, to which he attribute the decreasing number of canonical parishes switching to the OCU.
“I associate [the decreasing number] with this conflict. If we didn’t have an internal conflict, which shows those outside that something is wrong. The conflict should be overcome by the ‘conciliar mind,’” which should be expressed by the primate Epiphany Dumenko.
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