Bishop leaves Epiphany’s OCU, returns to Philaret’s KP

Fălești, Moldova, February 6, 2020

Photo: Photo: “Patriarch” Philaret Denisenko departed from the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” and relaunched his “Kiev Patriarchate” at a Local Council in Kiev on June 20. At that time, he was joined by 3 other “hierarchs” who serve dioceses outside of Ukraine.

Since then, the number of “hierarchs” in the rebooted KP has quickly grown. The 9th “hierarch” of the KP was consecrated on January 26, and now the number has reached 10, with the return of another “hierarch” from the OCU to the KP.

On February 3, the official KP website announced the return of “Bishop” Philaret of Fălești and East Moldova to Denisenko’s group.

“Bishop Philaret, aware of the impropriety of his exit from the Kiev Patriarchate and his time in the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, appealed to His Holiness Patriarch Philaret of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine to return to the Kiev Patriarchate together with the Eastern Moldovan Diocese entrusted to him,” the statement reads.

Under the conditions of the tomos of autocephaly granted by Constantinople, the OCU is not permitted to have parishes abroad, though the KP, which joined the OCU in December 2018, had numerous dioceses and parishes outside of Ukraine. The fate of the “hierarchs” of the KP outside of Ukraine remained uncertain and they have therefore chosen to stand with Philaret in his revived KP.

On February 4, the Synod of the OCU “retired” Philaret and forbade him to ordain or consecrate any clergy, though given that he is no longer a member of the OCU, he is under no obligation to adhere to its decision, the KP press service states.

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