OCU’s Game of Thrones: Filaret lost battle but hopes to win war

15 May 2019 22:30
Filaret remains in the minority: only four “bishops” arrived at his call Filaret remains in the minority: only four “bishops” arrived at his call

The main theses of the address of Filaret Denisenko, “honorary patriarch” of the OCU and head of the Kiev Patriarchate.

Filaret Denisenko, the “honorary patriarch” or “grandfather” of the OCU, as Phanariote Archbishop Daniel (Zelinsky) dubbed him, announced the revival of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC KP). Moreover, he said in plain language this would happen via breaking off with the OCU and Epiphany.

To implement his plans, he convened the "episcopate" in his St. Vladimir Cathedral on May 13-14 for a "friendly conversation". However, only 4 of the 60 “bishops” joined his banners.

Failure? Yes, perhaps, but not for Filaret. In the aftermath of this “friendly conversation”, the press service of the UOC KP published an address of Filaret to the entire Ukrainian flock, and then the “grandfather” of the OCU announced it at a press conference. Let's analyze the key messages of this document.

First: Kiev Patriarchate was, is and will be

A quote from the address:

"1. The Kiev Patriarchate does not need to be restored, because it was, is and will be.

2. Patriarch Filaret remains the current hierarch. He has his own eparchy – Kiev, he is a permanent member of the Holy Synod. So if there is a current Patriarch, there is a Kiev Patriarchate.

3. The UOC of the Kiev Patriarchate remains registered with state bodies. In particular, the Kiev Patriarchy is registered. This means that legally the Kiev Patriarchate continues to exist.”

According to the decisions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the statute of the OCU, Filaret is an acting “hierarch”, but not acting “patriarch”, he is an “honorary patriarch”. Archbishop Daniel (Zelinsky) described this title as a kind of “knickknack” for an elderly person to let him have fun in his old age. And he does not have his eparchy. According to the statute of the OCU, he actually manages only two Kiev monasteries. However, according to the statute of the UOC KP, i.e., a registered religious organization that is not at the stage of liquidation, Filaret is the head of the UOC KP and the current “patriarch”.

Filaret’s address provides an explanation of how the Kiev Patriarchate, being liquidated at the “Unification Council” of December 15, 2018, suddenly became acting again. And this explanation shows us the second message of the document.

Second: We lied, lie and will lie

Everything that is going on is a terrible déjà vu. Let us recall how Filaret Denisenko at the Bishops' Council in Moscow at the beginning of April 1992 swore the bishop's oath before the cross and the Gospel (a relevant audio can be found on the Internet) that he will leave the post of head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. But on his arrival in Kiev, he called a press conference on April 14, 1992, at which he declared that he would not go anywhere, while his bishop's oath was given “for diplomatic reasons”.

Similarly, today, Filaret does not deny that the UOC KP self-dissolved, does not deny that he refused to be the head of the OCU, does not deny that he agreed to the status of a metropolis instead of patriarchy, but claims that this was done “situational”.

A quote from the address:

"Our refusal of the status of patriarchate was purely situational."

Consequently, from the point of view of the “honorary patriarch”, any lie and fake, any fraud can be justified by the situation. The address directly states that the consent to the dissolution of the UOC KP and the removal of Filaret from management was nothing more than an attempt to seize the Tomos fraudulently and to make a fool of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

The UOC KP formally fulfilled the conditions of Patriarch Bartholomew. A quote from the address:

“Why did the Ecumenical Patriarch demand to refuse the status of the Patriarchate? Because the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the status of patriarchy cannot be part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. But it was necessary for the UOC to theoretically become part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. What were we supposed to do? To refuse being theoretically part of the Constantinople Patriarchate? Then the Ecumenical Patriarch would not have the canonical right to grant the Tomos partially. To get the Tomos, one must first become the Kiev Metropolis within the Patriarchate of Constantinople. For this reason, the Ecumenical Patriarch requested and made a condition that I would not nominate my candidacy for the post of Primate, while Metropolitan Emmanuel, the chairman of the Council, – that I would not wear the patriarchal cockle at the Council.”

 “Our refusal of the Patriarchate status was purely situational.”

From the address of Filaret Denisenko 

The "OCU’s grandpa" also explains his fraudulent actions. Well, Phanariotes, you want us to give up the status of patriarchy? Ok – whatever tickles your pickle!

A quote from the address:

“For the convocation of the Council and the granting of the Tomos, Patriarch Filaret had to fulfill the following conditions: not to nominate his candidacy for the post of Primate. Why? Because the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be recognized by the autocephalous Church only in the status of metropolis, and not patriarchy.”

Do you want the UOC KP to be liquidated? Here you are!

A quote from the address:

"The second condition on the part of the Ecumenical Patriarch is the signatures of the bishops about the termination of the Kiev Patriarchate."

We will do everything, just give us the Tomos!

A quote from the address:

“What did Patriarch Filaret have to do under these conditions? Refuse for the sake of managing the Church or agree to be humiliated in order to be granted the Tomos. Patriarch Filaret chose humiliation. Therefore, we have the Tomos on our autocephaly.”

Filaret and the UOC KP formally fulfilled all the terms, but in reality this was a conscious deception, a deliberate lie. Filaret was well aware that all this was not valid.

A quote from the address:

“Only the Local Council of the Church, convened by the Kiev Patriarchate, can annul the decision on the creation of the Kiev Patriarchate. There was no such Council. This means that the Kiev Patriarchate remains, it continues to operate, especially since it is registered with state bodies. It may be objected that on December 15, 2018, we refused the status of the Patriarchate at the Local Council in St. Sofia Cathedral.Yes! At the Local Council, but this Council was not the Council of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church (UOC-KP – Ed.), but the Council of the Kiev Metropolis of the Constantinople Patriarchate.”

In addition, Filaret furnishes arguments confirming the illegitimacy of the Council of the UOC KP on December 15, 2018, and, consequently, the invalidity of all its decisions about self-dissolution and the rejection of the status of patriarchate. They are as follows:

• The Council was convened by Patriarch Bartholomew rather than by primates of the Ukrainian Churches, i.e. UOC KP and UAOC;

• The representative of the Patriarch of Constantinople, Metropolitan Emmanuel, chaired the Council;

• The hierarchs of the Constantinople Patriarchate took an active part in the Council, who would not have such a right if it were a valid Council of the UOC KP.

Fraud is obvious: to make deliberately invalid decisions to lure Tomos from Patriarch Bartholomew, who took the bait and granted the Tomos.

Lies continues today and will continue in the future.

A quote from the address:

“We agree on the status of the metropolis and sincerely thank the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew for granting us the Tomos and for the courage to defend the canonical order in the Church. But in the future we want to be recognized in the status of the Patriarchate.”

“Only the Local Council of the Church, convened by the Kiev Patriarchate, can annul the decision on the creation of the Kiev Patriarchate. There was no such Council.”

From the address of Filaret Denisenko

How did you agree on the status of the metropolis, if in the very first lines of the address you say that “the Kiev Patriarchate was, is and will be”? The “OCU’s Grandpa” acknowledges that he is lying to external forces that the OCU is a patriarchy, and to the internal forces – that the OCU is a metropolis.

A quote from the address:

"Therefore, externally we are the metropolis, while internally we continue to be the Patriarchate."

Such a two-faced Janus. By the way, according to the ancient Roman mythology, the two-faced Janus is “the deity of all undertakings, doors, entrances and exits.”

Third: We swore, swear and will swear allegiance to the new power

Denisenko has always been remarkable for swearing allegiance to any government that was established in the state.

He faithfully served the Soviet government and was well-treated for it. The priest and spiritual writer Pavel Adelheim recalled how being a student of the Kiev Theological Seminary, in 1959 he listened to the speech of the then rector of the seminary, Archimandrite Filaret about the love of Soviet power: “I, the son of a miner, became an archimandrite and rector. Under what other power could this happen?! Under whose sky do you live?! Whose bread do you eat?! Whose land do walk on?! You are ungrateful, the Soviet authorities are teaching you, but you... ”

But when the Soviet power collapsed, Filaret began to revile it in every possible way, and to praise the new Ukrainian power in every possible way. Although until the collapse of the USSR in 1991, everything was exactly the opposite. Now, too, hardly had Petro Poroshenko left the post of President as Filaret declared him an apostate and in fact swore allegiance to the new rulers of Ukraine, among whom he calls not only Vladimir Zelensky, but ... Igor Kolomoisky.

A quote from the address:

“Undoubtedly, President Petro Poroshenko played a significant role (in receiving the Tomos – Ed.) alongside the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, headed by its chairman Andrei Parubiy. <...> But now Poroshenko backed off from his pledges and in fact, agreed to liquidate the Kiev Patriarchate.”

That is! The ruler is defeated – and he can be blamed for the liquidation of the Kiev Patriarchate. The fact that Filaret himself gave the same consent, having signed the document on the liquidation of the UOC KP together with his “bishops”, is not taken into account. After all, it was "purely situational". Thumb your nose behind everybody’s back and lie as much as you want!

Another thing is the new President. Before him, you need to sport all your merits.

A quote from the address:

“No one can deny that the Kiev Patriarchate gave this result. If it were not for the KP, then there would be no Tomos, because there would be no one to give it to. This is clear not only to church leaders, but also to secular ones, such as the newly elected President of Ukraine V.Zelensky, businessman I.Kolomoisky and others.”

It would seem, what does Kolomoisky, who is based in Israel, have to do with the Tomos? Yet, the "grandfather of the OCU" has a hunch for who will actually solve the problems and who he needs to swear allegiance to.

Fourth: We had, have and will have foreign parishes

As is known, one of the provisions of the notorious Tomos on the autocephalous OCU and one of the conditions for its granting is the transfer of all foreign parishes of the UOC KP and the UAOC under the jurisdiction of Phanar. Filaret agreed to this, but, again, with his inborn hypocrisy this case, like many others, was just “situational”.

In fact, Filaret declares the retention of foreign parishes in the jurisdiction of the UOC KP (or OCU, it’s confusing now). To this end, he even refuses the name “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” and insists on the name “Ukrainian Orthodox Church”, which for some reason he considers to belong to his confession.

Undoubtedly, President Petro Poroshenko played a significant role (in receiving the Tomos – Ed.) <...> But now Poroshenko backed off from his pledges and in fact, agreed to liquidate the Kiev Patriarchate.

From the address of Filaret Denisenko

A quote from the address:

“Why we do not agree to the name of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine or in Ukraine.

1. Because all autocephalous churches have an adjectival title: the Russian Orthodox Church, not the Orthodox Church in Russia; the Romanian Orthodox Church, not the Orthodox Church in Romania; the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, not the Orthodox Church in Bulgaria; and so do all the Churches that received the Tomos from the Church of Constantinople. Only our Church was called differently than others – not the Ukrainian Orthodox Church but the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

2. What is behind this? This means that Orthodox Ukrainians outside Ukraine do not belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. And this is said in the Tomos. Orthodox Ukrainians abroad were outraged by this. They want to belong to their native church.

3. All autocephalous Orthodox Churches retain their emigration, except for the Greek Churches. The entire Greek Diaspora is canonically subordinated to the Ecumenical Patriarch.

4. Therefore, we should also be called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, rather than the Orthodox Church of Ukraine so that our Ukrainian emigration could enjoy the right to belong to its native Church.”

Fifth: It is solely Epiphany’s fault who follows the will of Moscow

The accusations of the "honorary patriarch" of the OCU toward the head of the OCU are boiled down to the fact that Epiphany Dumenko:

•    does not comply with what was agreed on at the “unification council” of December 15, 2018;

•    tried at the first meeting of the Synod of the OCU to place Filaret on the retired list;

•    never ever for five months has served with the “patriarch”, even on the day of the latter’s 90th birthday;

•    does not meet with Filaret and does not call him;

•    disconnects the OCU;

•    threatens with the revocation of the Tomos but does everything to let it happen.

Anyone who does not recognize the existence of the Kiev Patriarchate – and this is Petro Poroshenko, Epiphany Dumenko, head of the Department of the Ministry of Culture for Religious Affairs Andrei Yurash, and many others – are declared anti-Ukrainian forces.

A quote from the address:

"Today, all anti-Ukrainian forces have joined the destruction of the Kiev Patriarchate in Ukraine."

Epiphany Dumenko, in his turn, is directly accused of working for Moscow.

A quote from the address:

“Moscow is satisfied with the state of affairs in the UOC (meaning the UOC KP or OCU – Ed.). What it failed to achieve through various efforts is now being achieved by the deeds of the current Primate of the UOC (OCU – Ed.).”

Sixth: What needs to be done, according to the “Honorary Patriarch”

To give Filaret real, not “honorary” power in the OCU (UOC-KP)! And in particular, to give him the right to preside over the meetings of the Synod and the Council of the OCU (UOC KP).

A quote from the address:

“In order to rectify the situation, which can be rectified, it is necessary to fulfill the agreements that were reached before the Council in the presence of President Poroshenko and the bishops. This means that the Primate is responsible for the external representation of the UOC, while the Patriarch is responsible for the internal church life in Ukraine, but in cooperation with the Primate. The Primate does nothing inside the Church without the consent of the Patriarch. The Patriarch chairs the meetings of the Holy Synod and the UOC Councils (OCU or UOC KP – Ed.) for the sake of preserving its unity, growth and establishment.”

Thus, the war to all opponents of the Kiev Patriarchate and, above all, Epiphany has been declared! The fact that Filaret published his address after he had been openly supported by only 4 of the 60 “bishops” means that this fact does not bother him at all. Who will emerge victorious from this “game of thrones,” whom to support and whom to bet on, in fact, is not important. It is important that more and more people, both in Ukraine and abroad, watching all these games, understand that the entire project with the OCU, similarly to the UOC KP and the UAOC, has nothing to do with the Church of Christ.

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