Phanar’s head: Russians call Filaret a schismatic but people love him
Patriarch Bartholomew forgot that he had always supported the anathema imposed by the Russian Church on Filaret and proclaimed him "a fighter for autocephaly".
The Russians unjustly call the head of the UOC-KP Filaret Denisenko the self-proclaimed metropolitan, in fact, he is a person who is very loved and respected, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said in an interview with the online outlet Kurir.rs.
According to the Phanar’s head, Filaret was deposed only because he asked for autocephaly.
“When Ukraine became an independent state in 1991, Ukrainian priests and bishops immediately appealed to the Russians with a request for autocephaly. The Russians refused them and said that they would never give it to them at all. Their response was the deposition of Metropolitan Filaret only because he asked for it,” said Patriarch Bartholomew.
He stressed that people really love the head of the UOC-KP.
“Metropolitan Filaret, whom the Russians call a self-proclaimed metropolitan, is a man whom people respect and love very much, even then he had a huge number of parishes, and the Russian side has not done anything in 30 years to heal the schism in Ukraine,” said the head of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
We recall that on August 26, 1992, Patriarch Bartholomew in response to a letter from His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II regarding the deposition of Metropolitan Filaret of Kiev wrote: “Our Holy Great Church of Christ, recognizing the fullness of the competence of your Most Holy Russian Church on this issue, accepts the synodical decision on the above."
In 1993, the head of the Phanar told the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine M. Zhulinsky that there was one canonical way to restore the unity of the Ukrainian Church – through the repentance of those who had fallen into schism. There could be no talk of unification on equal terms, because "today there is no such institution as the Kiev Patriarchate".
In 1997, Patriarch Bartholomew wrote to the Primate of the Russian Church on the occasion of imposing anathema on Philaret: “Having received notice of the decision, we informed the hierarchy of our Ecumenical See of it and asked them to further have no ecclesiastical communion with these persons.”
In September 2019, Filaret said that the Phanar’s head asked the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky to expedite the liquidation of the UOC-KP. “When the new President Vladimir Alexandrovich Zelensky was visiting the Ecumenical Patriarch on July 7 (August 8, - Ed.) this year, the patriarch asked him to expedite the liquidation of the Kiev Patriarchate. That is, the Ecumenical Patriarch takes care of the destruction of the Kiev Patriarchate. <...> Thank God that the President answered with dignity: he will not interfere in church affairs, but treats all Churches equally, keeping the constitutional right of citizens to freedom of conscience and religion,” said the head of the UOC-KP.