Media: Filaret and Makariy refuse to lead the Single Local Church

Heads of the UOC KP and UAOC Filaret Denisenko and Makariy Maletich

The heads of the UOC KP and the UAOC addressed letters to Constantinople, agreeing not to run for the post of leader of the new church structure to be created.

At the same time, in return for the refusal to lead the SLC, Filaret demands to recognize his title of “honorary patriarch”, reports "Vesti".

A source in the UAOC confirmed to “Vesti” that its head Makariy Maletich had sent a letter to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, in which he noted that he was not going to run as a candidate for the post of SLC primate.

The head of the UAOC stressed that none of the representatives of the episcopate of the UOC KP and the UAOC have the necessary authority and ability to claim for the position of the primate of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Therefore, the head of the UAOC asked Patriarch Bartholomew to nominate a representative from among the hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople as the only candidate for the position of head of the new Church.

According to the source, the UAOC is aware that Filaret also sent a letter to the Phanar, in which he noted that he was ready to withdraw his candidacy for the position of head of the new Church. However, in return, given his service to the Ukrainian people, he asked the unification Council to recognize him as “honorary patriarch” of this structure, to secure him as the head of the Holy Synod of the new Church, and also elect the “patriarchal deputy” of the UOC KP, "Metropolitan" Epiphany, as the head of the new Church.

“This is Filaret’s creature, his protégé and student — in case of his election, Filaret will retain his influence, repeating the situation of the early 90s when Patriarch Vladimir Romaniuk played the leading role in the schismatic UOC KP, but the Church was actually run by Filaret,” the religious expert Alexei Smirnov explained.

Filaret also insists that the text of the final document of the unification Council should reflect “his personal important role in the process of creating an autocephalous Church in Ukraine,” explained the “Vesti” source in the UAOC. Thus, in his opinion, Filaret has two goals. The first is to “forever” consolidate the status of the main moral authority in the Ukrainian church environment. The second is to outplay the Phanar, by de facto establishing its personal control over all the important administrative structures of the new association.

It is reported that in the letters the leaders of the UOC KP and the UAOC themselves designated their status for Constantinople as follows: Makariy Maletich called himself "the former metropolitan", and Filaret signed as the "archbishop".

Political analyst Elena Dyachenko commented on these appeals in such a way: “For me, Filaret's letter is a surprise: there have been speculations in church circles that under no circumstances he is willing to bow his head to be not the first. A couple of weeks ago, following up the decision of the Synod of Constantinople, Filaret said that the unification Council and the Tomos are possible only with the participation of the three Churches – and from his words, it follows that this will never happen.” According to Dyachenko, there are indirect signs of pressure on Filaret (as well as on Makariy) and, probably, sufficiently strong arguments were found for both leaders.

As the UOJ reported, earlier the leader of the UAOC Makariy Maletich has declared that he did not nominate his candidacy for the post of head of the Single Local Church.

In turn, the Chancellor of the UOC, Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) of Borispol and Brovary, said that there is a letter from the Panar sent to the UOC KP and the UAOC, according to which neither Filaret nor Macariy can take part in the elections.

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