Kiev, June 25, 2019
“Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko of the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) was once the protégé of “Patriach” Philaret Denisenko, from whose hands he received his “ordinations” and “consecrations, and whose political maneuverings at the “unification council” in December placed Epiphany upon the primatial throne of the OCU.
Epiphany received everything from Philaret, and yesterday, Epiphany and the Synod of the OCU took nearly everything away from Philaret. At the first Synodal session in February, Philaret, who once ruled the entire canonical Ukrainian Church and then the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP), was placed in charge of the Kiev Diocese of the OCU. At yesterday’s session, the diocese was taken away from him and placed under the direct authority of Epiphany Dumenko, reports the site of the OCU.
The Synod resolved to let Philaret remain a bishop, however, despite that at the Local Council of the renewed KP held on June 20, Philaret declared that all the churches and monasteries of the Kiev Diocese of the OCU belong to him as head of the KP, including St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery where “Met.” Epiphany has been serving.
Despite not being elected as primate of the OCU (and not even being allowed to run), the OCU bestowed upon Philaret the title of “Honorary Patriarch” in gratitude for his efforts towards Ukrainian autocephaly, and now the OCU Synod allows Philaret to remain in the episcopate also on account of his past service to Ukrainian Orthodoxy. He has, however, lost the canonical rights and duties associated with the management of a diocese.
Interestingly, the OCU, whose canonicity is rejected or doubted by the entire Orthodox world except for the Patriarchate of Constantinople, accuses Philaret of violating Apostolic Canon 34, which calls on hierarchs to act in concert and with the consent of their local primate.
The OCU further announced that “Archbishop” Joasaph of Belgorod and Oboyan and “Bishop” Peter of Valuisky, who have joined Philaret in his reinvigorated KP, are from henceforth excluded from the number of their hierarchs. Joasaph later remarked that Epiphany and other bishops of the OCU have become hypocritical, cunning, cruel, and deceitful.
The Synod also suspended “Archimandrite” Andrei Marutsak and “Hieromonk” Elijah Zelensky, who were “consecrated” as “bishops” of the KP by Philaret and Joasaph over the weekend.
The OCU also declared that Philaret and his KP have no authority to make any decisions.
A seasoned veteran in forging his own path, Philaret remains undeterred, and declared in a press briefing today that he has fully left the OCU and has revived the Synod of the KP, which currently consists of 5 bishops.
When a journalist noted that the KP statutes stipulate that the Synod should be made up of 12 bishops, Philaret responded that there will be 12, and even more. As for the OCU, “Their decisions do not concern us,” the “Patriarch” declared.
Meanwhile, those loyal to the OCU and those loyal to the KP have begun seizing and attempting to seize one another’s churches, as they have been doing to the communities of the canonical Ukrainian Church for years, and Philaret has appealed to the Minister of the Interior to help protect his KP parishes. OCU loyalists have even seized and blocked the KP’s official website.
“Archbishop” Evstraty Zorya, the former speaker for the KP, once inseparable from Philaret, now says that Philaret parrots Russian propaganda, thus highlighting the OCU’s nationalist foundations and reason for existing.
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