Kiev Patriarchate now officially liquidated following OCU Synod decision, says Ukrainian Ministry of Culture

Kiev, July 31, 2019

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Despite the public insistences and legal maneuverings of “Patriarch” Philaret Denisenko, the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture has declared his “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) to be officially liquidated.

According to the relevant statement from the Ministry today, the KP ceased to exist when it joined the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) in December. Philaret and the handful of bishops who have remained loyal to him have countered that although they joined the OCU at the “unification council,” neither the ecclesiastical nor legal procedure for liquidating the KP was ever carried out.

The Ministry of Culture argues, on the other hand, that a “Local Council” of the KP was held on December 15, on the basis of which it became part of the OCU and ceased to function. The Ministry also notes that its statement is in response to allegations of state interference in religious affairs and to statements about the “alleged resumption” of the activities of the KP.

“All the functions of the statutory bodies of the former UOC-KP transferred to the competence of the relevant governing bodies of the UOC (OCU), which received all the powers and legal grounds for making appropriate decisions on the future of those religious organizations,” the Ministry’s statement reads.

Further, it is noted that at its July 27 session, the “Holy Synod” of the OCU voted to terminate the activities of all religious organizations of the KP. According to a statement on the OCU’s official site, they resolved to terminate the activities of the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” (UAOC) as well, which united with the KP in December to form the OCU.

As of July 29, according to the OCU, the governing bodies of the KP and the UAOC are now the liquidation commissions created by the OCU’s Holy Synod. The OCU was officially registered on January 30, at which time the KP and UAOC ceased to represent any religious association, the OCU bishops state.

However, as Philaret has revived his KP and is attempting to maintain control of KP properties, the OCU Synod had to take this step of liquidation, they write.

In response, Philaret accused the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Justice, and the OCU of illegally liquidating the statutes of the KP. The “Patriarchate” cannot be liquidated with the consent of the “Patriarch,” Philaret believes.

Recall that the Ministry of Justice stated in May that the KP still exists in the official state registry. Philaret held a “Local Council” of the KP on June 20 with three other bishops, at which the results of the “unification council” and the tomos of autocephaly from the Patriarchate of Constantinople to the OCU were officially rejected and the reviving of the KP officially declared.

“The leadership of the OCU, together with some state officials, is destroying the Church that gave birth to them and brought them to power,” Philaret wrote in response to the decision of the OCU “Synod.” Epiphany Dumenko, the primate of the OCU, was once the loyal right-hand man of Philaret in the KP and received his ordinations and consecration at the hand of Philaret.

Philaret also called upon those clergymen who remain loyal to him not to reregister their parishes to the OCU.

He has also appealed to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to protect the KP, claiming that the OCU was created by the deception of Epiphany Dumenko and ex-President Petro Poroshenko, and that it is in the interests of the Ukrainian people to do so.            

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