“Bishops’ Council” of UOC-KP condemns Epiphany’s activity

Head of the UOC-KP Filaret Denisenko. Photo: gdb.rferl.org

A year after the UOC-KP's separation, Epiphany’s hostile attitude towards the “truly independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church” has not ceased, as stated in the decree.

On June 21, 2020, the “Bishops' Council” of the UOC-KP, dated to the anniversary of the “Local Council” of June 20, 2019, condemned the actions of the Head of the OCU Epiphany and made another appeal to the authorities to restore the state registration of their religious organization. The corresponding resolution was published on the official website of the UOC-KP.

“It has been year of the existence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate since it separated from the so-called OCU. We are grateful to the Lord God that He by His grace preserved the truly independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church and let it grow over the past year,” the resolution reads.

Over the past year, after the “lawful and full-fledged Local Council”, as noted in the text of the resolution, the UOC-KP “has increased with God's help”, however, its parish communities “have not yet been registered because of the illegal deregistration of the religious center – Kyiv Patriarchy”.

“Unfortunately, this year a hostile attitude of Primate of the OCU Epiphany towards the UOC-KP has not ceased, and, in particular, to its Primate, His Holiness Patriarch Filaret, although the OCU leader says he respects the latter very much,” the “bishops” emphasized. “Over this time, he managed to remove the Kyiv Patriarchy from state registration. In an unlawful way, without original documents of ownership (for they are still in possession of Patriarch Filaret), all the property of the Kyiv Patriarchate was re-registered in favor of the OCU under a notarial act. It got to the point that the Kyiv Patriarchate cannot pay taxes and various deductions for its employees. Unfortunately, the Primate of the OCU, Metropolitan Epiphany, is engaged in non-Christian aggressive church activities in relation to his Christian brothers from the UOC-KP and continues raider attacks on temples with clashes and fights, as it happened in Odesa, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Poltava. Moreover, in Klavdiyevo village, Kyiv region, it ended up with the abduction of the priest. Students who wished to be novices near the Patriarch were expelled from the Kyiv Orthodox Theological Academy, which was also seized from the Kyiv Patriarchate.”

In the wake of the above, the "Bishops' Council" condemns the activities of Epiphany and the "Holy Synod" of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine "for attempting to destroy the UOC of the Kyiv Patriarchate, which gave birth to the Primate Metropolitan Epiphany himself and the entire episcopate of the OCU. If it hadn’t been for the UOC-KP, there could have been neither the OCU nor the Tomos on the so-called autocephaly."

Also, the “council” of the UOC-KP “once again appeals to the state authorities to show their political will and ensure the observance of the constitutional rights of bishops, clergy and parishioners of the UOC of the Kyiv Patriarchate, as well as to restore state registration and operation of the Statutes of the UOC-KP and the Kyiv Patriarchy.”

“Due to violations of religious freedom and the rights of believers of the UOC of the Kyiv Patriarchate, we have a doubt: can Ukraine be considered a rule of law after that?” summarized in the resolution.

As reported by the UOJ, on the occasion of the anniversary of the “Local Council”, Head of the UOC-KP Filaret Denisenko appointed two “bishops” of the Kyiv Patriarchate – Andrei Marutsak and Filaret Panku (Moldova) as “archbishops”.

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