OCU “hierarch”: We have a church overthrow
The UOC KP official website published a letter of Met. Joasaph titled “I Can’t Be Silent” where the “hierarch” declares that OCU leadership wants to remove Filaret.
"Metropolitan" Joasaph Shibaev of Belgorod and Oboyan published an open letter entitled "I Can't Be Silent", in which he harshly criticized the current situation in the OCU. The appeal was posted on the official website of the Kiev Patriarchate.
Joasaph Shibaev states that he was motivated to write a letter by the “obviously lawless situation in the Church.”
“All these days I don’t find peace for myself for I fear that I will put myself as a respondent at God's Judgment if I keep silent,” the “hierarch” writes. “What am I silent about? I am silent about the fact that a church coup has occurred before our eyes and with our involuntary participation. In this overturn, by deception, they changed not only the Primate of the Church, but also directed the Church itself along some false path, marked the beginning of its existence with falsehood. The Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church, the only true guidelines, according to which the life of the Church is built, have been replaced by someone else’s human and therefore, sinful will.”
Shibaev argues that in the process of creating the OCU the young part of the "episcopate" entered into an alliance with the Greeks, opposed itself to the senior "bishops" and developed a plan to eliminate Filaret.
“Now the current young hierarchs who are at the head of the Church tells – the Greeks want it! All preparation for these already accomplished events was conducted in some secret whispering amid the Patriarch's entourage – Metropolitan Epiphany, Archbishop Eustraty and Agapit. Everything that happened was presented in the form of some fragmentary half-rumors-half-proposals; nobody knew the exact state of affairs. True though, the “hostile press” wrote that the young Patriarch’s environment has a secret plan to strip the Patriarch off his administrative powers but no one believed it. As it turns out, they’d better have believed it!”
The hierarch claims that the majority of the episcopate agreed with the removal of Filaret from primacy in the new Church solely because of the assurances that the tandem Filaret-Epiphany would be in charge of the OCU, while Filaret’s participation in the leadership would be spelled out in the Statute.
“When we asked – who will be the Primate? Who will we vote for? We were answered, including the Most Holy Patriarch Filaret, for Metropolitan Epiphany. To our bewilderment about his being too young, inexperienced and uncertain of his convictions to be a primate, we were told – the Church will be managed together by Patriarch Filaret and Metropolitan Epiphany, says the "bishop". “Moreover, all this will be described in a new Statute of the Church in a separate temporary chapter (valid till the death of the Patriarch). The Statute we were supposed to accept after granting of the Tomos on autocephaly. We agreed to such terms, being reassured by the promise of participation in the management of the extensively experienced Patriarch.”
The provisions of the Statute of the OCU are characterized by Joasaph as “harmful to the life of our Church and even anti-canonical,” since the composition of the Synod of the Church was determined only by one person, the primate, whereas all bishops are not able to determine the decisions of the Church: “He has the ability to appoint the persons who will take exactly his decision. This is the introduction of monarchy in the Church – while the principle of conciliarity is rejected. The canons of the Church require that Councils of all bishops meet twice a year to resolve the current affairs of the Church ... This is a requirement of the Canons. If a clause of the Statute contradicts the Canon Law of the Church, it is not legitimate. Its provisions are not legitimate."
Joasaph Shibaev sums up his letter with the thesis that the newly created structure is permeated with falsehood.
“They lied before the Council about two Primates. They lied when accepting the Statute, the text of which was not discussed and turned out to be completely different from what had been promised initially. They lied about the fact that a local council of the OCU would be immediately convened to settle all the dubious questions of the existence of the Church. They kept lying about the status of the Diaspora – it is eventually transferred to the Ecumenical Patriarch or simply to non-existence. They just do not talk about it directly now, do not accelerate this issue – let everything settle down a little and then they will expel us without any explanation, so for now we can take out time packing our things. And now they also blame us, the Diaspora, for direct disobedience to the Ecumenical Patriarch. We, in violation of our own Statute, do not want to be in the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch. They lied that two Primates will be commemorated at divine services – the Patriarch and the Metropolitan. But where is a lie, there is its father. Where there is a lie, God's grace is cut off. And everything created on lies, untruth, has no power in the Church but, according to the Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council about Maxim Tsinik, is worthless,” the Bishop declared.
At the end of the Appeal, Shibaev accuses Epiphany and the young “episcopate” of ingratitude towards Filaret, who gave them all the possible material benefits: He gave you all the benefits both spiritual and material. He ordained you bishops, gave dioceses, expensive cars, precious panagias, crosses, miter, magnificent vestments, expensive phones, money. You, apparently, in self-conceit, took all this for granted. What do you pay the Patriarch with now? You do not let him live the rest of his years in peace, honor and silence? Remember the words of God – ‘Cursed is Canaan, he is a slave of slaves ...’ May it not happen with you and with us! ”
Recall that earlier “Metropolitan Joasaph Vasilikiv of Ivano-Frankovsk and Galicia” said that he and his colleagues are dissatisfied with the unauthorized changes to the Statute of the OCU, introduced by the leadership of the newly established structure.
“Someone really wants our Church to have no future,” the “bishop” said. In his opinion, the Statute of the OCU, presented by Phanar, suits the “bishops”: “The basic principles of the activity of our Church prescribed in the Statute of the OCU fully satisfy the diocesan bishops. The foundations of the interaction of the metropolis with the diocese and the diocese with the parish are quite well enshrined in the statutes of dioceses.” Therefore, it is wrong to make any amendments, according to Joasaph, as it may lead to the revocation of the Tomos.