Filaret: The Church has no honorary patriarchs – an invention of Greeks

"Honorary Patriarch" of the OCU Filaret Denisenko. Photo: Getty Images / Global Images Ukraine

The patriarch can either be retired or acting, Filaret Denisenko emphasized.

There are no "honorary patriarchs", but there is an acting "patriarch" elected for life – Filaret, said the head of the liquidated UOC-KP in the “Interview with Litvinenko” program on ZIK.

The "patriarch" stated that he would never give up his main idea – "there should be an independent Church in an independent state" and continue the struggle for the existence of the "independent" UOC-KP led by him.

“We left the OCU on June 20. As a patriarch, I gathered a Local Council – I have the right to do so according to the Statute – from bishops, the clergy and laity, and at this Local Council we decided to leave the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and continue to exist as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate,” Filaret said.

He explained that he withdrew his signature to the decree of the “Local Council” of the UOC-KP of December 15, 2018, to emphasize that he did not consider it to be a true “Council” convened at the request of the Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, and so that “they should not speculate with this so-called Local Council”.

Denisenko also noted that the “primate” of the OCU Epiphany, elected solely with his assistance had never communicated “with his patriarch” during all this time: “Metropolitan Epiphany, as soon as he became the Primate, never served with me. Never. More than a year has already passed, and we have never served together. He wants to serve with the Greeks, with the Greek bishops, with whoever wants with him. And with his patriarch, who appointed him, for if I had not fought for him, he would never have become the head of the Ukrainian Church, he does not want to serve, and he hasn’t served even once. Not only has he never served with me, but he has never congratulated me. There was the Nativity of Christ, other feast days – he does not congratulate me. Is it okay?"

And now, Filaret complained, he reads messages from the OCU that the “honorary patriarch” was absent from the meeting of its “Synod” for no good reason.

“There are no honorary patriarchs in the Orthodox Church,” he emphasized. “This is a Greek invention. Maybe the patriarch is either retired or acting. I am an elected patriarch for life. <...> And they didn’t even invite me to this Synod, but they write that I was absent for no good reason."

As reported, on January 10, 2020, the head of the UOC-KP Filaret Denisenko withdrew his signature to the decree of the so-called “Local Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate” of December 15, 2018, on the liquidation of the structure led by him. The justification is the provisions of articles 9 and 13 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as articles 22 and 35 of the Constitution of Ukraine, "which exclude the deterioration of the legal status of citizens of Ukraine who exercise the right to freedom of conscience in the Kyiv Patriarchate".

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