Filaret and Epiphany demand observance of church canons from each other
Epiphany confiscated the Pokrovsky (Intercession) parish of Kiev from Filaret, which gave rise to accusing the head of the OCU of the non-observance of canons.
The confrontation between Filaret and Epiphanius is growing. On May 29, they published two Decrees accusing each other of not following the church canons.
On May 29, 2019, Epiphany published the Decree, which repealed Filaret's Decree of May 28, 2019, banning Alexander Trofimliuk from ministry and announced that he was taking the Pokrovsky Church of Kiev, where Trofimliuk is the rector, under his control. Epiphany’s argument is the following – the Kiev Eparchy of the OCU has not yet been re-registered from the UOC-KP, and therefore all orders of Filaret are currently invalid.
"In connection with the promulgation on behalf of the leadership of the religious association of the UOC KP, which ceased its activities, invalid documents that cause confusion among the clergy of Kiev, to avoid further violations of the canons and the Statute of the Church, at the request of the religious community of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos in the Solomensky district of Kiev and its clergy, I define:
- temporarily, until the complete implementation of the decisions of the Holy Synod of February 5, 2019 and May 24, 2019 regarding the registration in Kiev of the eparchy as part of the UOC (OCU), to accept the religious community of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos in the Solomensky district of Kiev under the direct subordination of the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine;
- any documents and orders on behalf of the UOC KP religious association, which ceased its activities issued after January 30, 2019, are invalid and are not enforceable in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Orthodox Church of Ukraine),” the Decree says.
Whether Epiphany recognizes the ban from priesthood imposed by Filaret on Trofimliuk remains unknown.
In turn, the “honorary patriarch” has sent Epiphanius an official letter, where he asked for explanations about taking Alexander Trofimliuk banned from ministry by Filaret under his jurisdiction. The corresponding document is published on the official resource of the UOC KP.
"I learned that the Pokrovsky (Intercession) Church of Kiev (on Solomenka) because of Archpriest Alexander Trofimliuk, banned by me from priesthood, comes out of my submission as the ruling bishop of Kiev, confirmed by the decision of the Holy Synod of February 5, 2019, and goes with the parish under your submission without a leave letter,” wrote Filaret.
Filaret emphasizes in the document that he is the legitimate "ruling bishop" of the Kiev Eparchy, and Epiphany, as the head of the OCU, is obliged to adhere to the canonical order and the bishop's oath:
“If you accepted it (the community – Ed.) without the consent of the ruling bishop, this means a violation of the canonical order in the transition of the clergy from one eparchy to another. I think that you as the Primate should keep, and I think that you indeed keep the canonical order and the bishop's oath given at the episcopal ordination – ‘not to take into your eparchy without a leave letter’."
We recall that Filaret, who, according to the statute of the OCU, rules its Kiev Eparchy, on May 28, 2019, banned the rector of the Pokrovsky (Intercession) Church of Kiev Alexander Trofimliuk from ministry. Trofimliuk is the right hand of Epiphany and the rector of the Theological Academy of the OCU, which houses the office of the OCU head. Filaret’s decree is written on the official letterhead of the Kiev Patriarchate. On May 29, he sent Boris Tabachek, a cleric of St. Vladimir’s Cathedral, to the Pokrovsky Church in order to take control of the temple. OCU "Bishop" Adrian Kulik called such actions of Filaret a "seizure" of the temple.