OCU celebrates the anniversary of "unification" of Ukrainian schismatics

Meeting on December 15, 2018 in St. Sophia of Kyiv. Photo: svoboda.org

A thanksgiving service was held by the OCU on the third anniversary of the "Unification Council", initiated by Patriarch Bartholomew and Petro Poroshenko.

On December 15, Epifaniy will lead a thanksgiving service in honor of the third anniversary of the so-called “unification council”, which was convened at the initiative of Patriarch Bartholomew and Petro Poroshenko. The event is reported on Facebook by the press service of St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery.

The "Council" took place on December 15, 2018 in the St. Sophia Cathedral. Before its beginning, the “local councils” of the UOC-Kyiv Patriarchate and the UAOC decided to terminate their activities as separate religious associations to merge into the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (or “Holy Church of Ukraine”). Three years ago, apart from the initiators – the then President of Ukraine and representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople – the event was attended by hierarchs from the UOC-KP, the UAOC, and two hierarchs of the UOC, who had backslid into schism. The participants announced the creation of a new entity – OCU.

The “Council” elected by secret ballot the 39-year-old bishop of the UOC-KP Epifaniy Dumenko the head of the new formation with the title of "most blessed metropolitan".

However, six months later, the former head of the UOC-KP, Filaret Denisenko, said that he is still the Patriarch of Kyiv with his patriarchy still existing. On June 20, 2019, on the initiative of Filaret, a meeting of a part of hierarchs, priests and laity of the Kyiv Patriarchate was held. The participants called it a "local council" and decided to resume the activity of the patriarchy, the BBC reported.

“We are convening a local Council, at which we will not approve the decision of the Council that took place on December 15, 2018 (the local Council of the UOC-KP on December 15, which decided to dissolve itself to become part of the OCU – Ed.). This means that it is not obligatory for us. This will show that the Kyiv Patriarchate was, is and will be,” Filaret Denisenko asserted.

“Without the conventional liquidation of the Kyiv Patriarchate, there could not have been a Unification Council of Ukrainian Churches on December 15, 2018, and the granting of a tomos of autocephaly,” the text of the resolution of the “local council” said.

Filaret also added that the current autocephalous Orthodox Church is dependent on the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and if he’d known in advance the content of the Tomos of Autocephaly, which was provided to the OCU, he would haverejected it. “Epifaniy is a servant of the Ecumenical Patriarch, while the so-called OCU serves the interests of the Greeks,” he said.

By the third anniversary of the "unification council", the conflict between the "unifiers of the Ukrainian Church" has exacerbated again. On November 1, 2021, an official statement appeared on the UOC-KP website, which begins with the words: "Metropolitan Epifaniy Dumenko is not the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church."

The statement was a response to the decree of Epifaniy of October 30 to deprive Filaret of the canonical rights and duties of the ruling bishop.

“I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people” (Rom. 16: 17-18), says the Apostle Paul.

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