Kiev, February 5, 2020
In December 2018, the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP), led by “Patriarch” Philaret Denisenko, merged with the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” into the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU)—a creation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and then-President Petro Poroshenko.
A mere seven months later, dissatisfied with the partial autocephaly granted by Constantinople, Philaret left the OCU in order to revive his KP. Since then, he has been very actively consecrating new bishops for his group, while the OCU Synod has continued to insist that he is still a member of their group.
However, yesterday, February 4, the OCU did finally resolved to remove him as a member of their Synod and send him into retirement. Until yesterday, the Synod had simply been noting that Philaret was absent from its sessions without proper cause.
Philaret’s “retirement” is retroactively dated by the OCU Synod to June 24, 2019, just a few days after Philaret staged the Local Council that officially relaunched his KP, after which he quickly consecrated two new “bishops,” whom Epiphany Dumenko, the head of the OCU, immediately suspended. The OCU Synod met on June 24 and resolved to remove the Kiev Diocese from Philaret and give it to Epiphany, though he was allowed to remain a bishop of the OCU, because excommunicating him would be too much like the Moscow Patriarchate, which excommunicated Philaret in the 1990s for persisting in schism, Epiphany explained.
Given his “retirement,” the OCU Synod also states that he is therefore “canonically forbidden to perform any ordination.” Meanwhile, Philaret consecrated the 9th “bishop” for his KP just a week ago, and shows no signs of stopping.
The OCU Synod also clarifies that any clerics ordained or consecrated by Philaret have no authority to act as hierarchs.
It is also reiterated that Philaret lost his canonical rights and duties of management over the Kiev Diocese and that he is also excluded from the OCU Synod, though he remains a part of the “episcopate” of the OCU.
“Given his absence from six sessions of the Holy Synod in a row and his unjustified refusal to participate in the session of the Holy Synod, despite a written invitation, the authority of Philaret as a member of the Holy Synod is suspended,” reads the report from the Synod meeting.