Epiphany convenes OCU Synod due to the conflict with Filaret
Head of the OCU Epiphany announced the session of the “synod” in view of the conflict that broke out in the newly created church structure.
On May 16, 2019, in an interview with the BBC-Ukraine, the leader of the OCU, Epiphany Dumenko, stated that recent statements made by the press and an ultimatum of the head of the UOC KP, Filaret, would be discussed at the “Holy Synod” of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is scheduled for May 24, 2019.
According to Epiphany, at the meeting "the general state of affairs in our Church will be discussed and, perhaps, an assessment will be given to those actions that have so far been committed".
Commenting on the information that at the past and present “synods”, attempts have been made to retire Filaret, Epiphany said that this was an “outright lie”: “On the contrary, I, as primate, defended Patriarch Filaret. And thanks to my position, the city of Kiev was left to him, as well as everything that he controls now. There were some discussions among the hierarchs who are present at the Holy Synod, about his status. Namely, it was suggested that he should lead parishes in the Kiev region, and not the capital.”
However, the “Primate” added, “I persistently convinced everyone that for the merits of His Holiness Patriarch, he must remain the head of the Eparchy of Kiev city and enjoy the respect of the new Church.”
When asked by journalists whether Filaret risks being excommunicated for his recent actions, the head of the OCU noted, “According to the norms of the new statute, a particular bishop is elected to the See for life. But if there are any misunderstandings and certain offences are committed, this will be considered by the Holy Synod and the ecclesiastical court, after which relevant decisions will be taken in compliance with the Statute.”
He also stated that, based on the opinion and position of “the absolute majority of the bishops of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, not only members of the Synod,” he believes, “We are unanimous in the opinion that everything that happened after the unification, what was adopted at the Unification Council , satisfies the current state of our Church. Therefore, there is no need to make any fundamental changes.”
He also promised that the Kiev See and St. Vladimir Cathedral would not be taken away from Filaret: “We do not just reserve for the Patriarch St. Vladimir Cathedral and residence in Pushkinskaya Street, but also the management of the parishes in Kiev, the eparchy and everything that is now part of the eparchy of the city of Kiev, except St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral, which is mine.”
As the UOJ reported, on May 16, Epiphany Dumenko expressed his position in the conflict with head of the UOC KP Filaret: he would not fulfill the latter’s ultimatums, would not allow authoritarian leadership, and he did not give any promises to the former head of the UOC KP. The head of the OCU also stated that Filaret’s ultimatum humiliates him as a “primate”.
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.