OCU “hierarch” Alexander: Had I known it, I wouldn't've gone to the Council
Alexander (Drabinko) stated that if he had been aware of the backroom arrangements between Filaret, Epiphany and Poroshenko, he would not have gone to the “Council”.
On May 15, 2019, the former UOC Metropolitan and now “bishop” of the OCU Alexander (Drabinko) gave an interview to Hromadske TV channel, in which he commented on the public conflict between former head of the UOC KP Filaret and head of the OCU Epiphany.
According to him, the beginning of the conflict was laid at the “Unification Council”.
“It was when the Council was taking place that we were expecting the former head of the Kiev Patriarchate and his bishops, perhaps, for more than three hours,” said Drabinko. “Vladyka Emmanuel, who represented the Ecumenical Patriarch, was very annoyed by this position, the reluctance of the dismissal of the KP; there were voiced very unconstructive reciprocal statements. It was then that everyone understood that the position of patriarch Filaret would be staunch.”
The “hierarch” of the OCU commented on the statements of Filaret that the external representation of the newly formed church structure will be carried out by the current head, Epiphany, while the actual leadership will be assumed by the “honorary patriarch” himself.
“I do not exclude that these agreements could take place. However, no one informed the plentitude of the local Council about these agreements. The attendees were not aware of these arrangements. And if such agreements did take place between Patriarch Filaret, His Eminence Epiphany and President Poroshenko, they could have taken place in the Smaller church of St. Sophia Cathedral, where the council on self-dissolution and liquidation of the KP was held,” said Drabinko.
He did not rule out that he could refuse to participate in the Council, “which would subsequently reveal the fact that the primate was not the freely elected primate of the church but self-appointed Patriarch Filaret, according to some agreements”.
According to Drabinko, the only possibility to keep the UOC KP headed by Filaret is “to create such a patriarchate additionally, because today it does not exist”.
He recalled that on the day of the commemoration of the Holy Martyr Macarius, only four bishops of the former Kiev Patriarchate arrived at the Vladimir Cathedral.
"But even though they arrived at the celebration, it does not mean that they share the patriarch’s point of view on the existence of the KP, that he is a patriarch, that Constantinople wrongly declares some of its claims, that the Council was held with violations, and the status that the OCU has is insufficient,” explained the ex-metropolitan of the UOC.
He also noted, “These are all reflections of patriarch Filaret. And these thoughts are not shared by the episcopate completely. Therefore, to talk about a split ... Well, if Filaret decides to have a split, then this is his choice.”
As the UOJ reported, on May 14, 2019, the “honorary patriarch” of the OCU, Filaret Denisenko, published an official address “to the entire Ukrainian Orthodox flock” on the website of the Kiev Patriarchate.
In his address, Filaret once again stressed that the Kiev Patriarchate does not need to be reinstated, since it still exists. To substantiate it, the “honorary patriarch” recalled: the UOC KP is still registered with the state bodies of Ukraine.
Denisenko explained the conflict that arose in the newly created OCU by disobedience of the head of this religious organization, Epiphany Dumenko.
“The newly elected Primate of the UOC Metropolitan Epiphany does not comply with the agreements that were reached at the Council on December 15, 2018, in the Cathedral of St. Sofia,” the “honorary patriarch” explained.
On May 12, 2019, Filaret stated that he admits the possibility of the OCU's split. “I assume the likelihood of the split within the Church but we are creating a single Church – Kiev Patriarchate,” he stressed.