Filaret: UOC has an independent and autonomous status thanks to me

"Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus-Ukraine" Filaret Denisenko. Photo: Segodnya

The head of the UOC-KP said that the UOC acquired its current status allegedly due to his efforts he began to take under the pretext of expanding Ukraine’s rights.

The UOC received the status of independence and autonomy thanks to the efforts of the head of the UOC-KP, Filaret Denisenko, the "patriarch of Kiev and all Rus-Ukraine" believes.

“When I became the head of the UOC but as part of the Moscow Patriarchate, I secured the independent and autonomous status for the Ukrainian Church. The status that the UOC-MP has now is eventuated by my efforts,” said Filaret in an interview with the Internet publication Segodnya (Today – Ed.).”

According to the "Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus-Ukraine", he began to seek the expansion of rights for the UOC owing to the expansion of the rights of Ukraine within the USSR.

“Why did I seek expansion of rights? Because Ukraine as part of the Soviet Union sought the expansion of rights. And under the pretext that Ukraine was getting big rights, I wanted also the Church to get big rights but as part of the Moscow Patriarchate,” said the head of the UOC-KP.

He also said that the state had suspended the process of closing parishes and monasteries of the UOC and returned the Holy Dormition Kiev-Pechersk Lavra to the Church, again thanks to Filaret.

“In 1966, true though, Khrushchev was no longer in power and I was appointed exarch. Parishes were closed not by dozens, but by hundreds. And when I became an exarch, I ensured that the closure of parishes in Ukraine be stopped. <...> The Lavra was closed,” he shared with journalists. “But when preparing for the celebration of the Millennium of the Baptism of Rus, I put forward in front of the Council on Religious Affairs the question of returning the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra to the Church so that the monastery could be restored there. Only Shcherbitsky and Grishin (the first secretary of the Moscow City Committee of the Communist Party) objected. The rest of the politburo voted in favor. <...> Therefore, the Lavra was returned to the Church thanks to my persistent efforts.”

The head of the UOC-KP also recalled that he was a protege of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party. According to Filaret, Russian President Vladimir Putin wishes the "'Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus-Ukraine' could be the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church".

“It happened as it was decided by the KGB. Although the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU made a bet on me, as I later learned on the sidelines. That is, Alexy was a protege from the KGB, while I was the one from the Politburo. Later in his entourage, Putin said: “We made a mistake by electing Alexy as patriarch. We had to choose Filaret. If Filaret had been elected, Ukraine would have been ours,” Filaret told the media.

Earlier, the head of the UOC-KP also said that talks about his age is speculation and he feels like 60 years old.

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