Kiev Patriarchate and Phanar – love or just the name?

You do not have time to count how many times a week the mass media express the thesis of official representatives of the Kiev Patriarchate about the "soonest recognition" by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Everything seems to have been done: an appeal of the Verkhovna Rada to Patriarch Bartholomew sent (interestingly, it was signed mainly by Uniates), several dozen churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church seized under the pretext of "changing jurisdiction", the Crete documents approved (although what the Kiev Patriarchate has to do with them is completely incomprehensible), several delegations sent to Phanar (although the Greeks themselves officially called this "meeting with schismatic groups"). Filaret puts into the minds of millions of Ukrainians the confidence in the soonest recognition of his group. And although no serious steps have been taken in this direction since 1992, it really frightens. Because most of the ordinary citizens believe the hype.

As for the relations between the KP and the representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, there are several interesting nuances. First, Filaret was under the legal jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, i.e. he has not been a bishop of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. He was first banned, and later excommunicated by the ROC. Phanar has nothing to do with this act, and it cannot lift "excommunication" from Filaret as it is the prerogative of the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church. Therefore, the cries for lifting the anathema by someone have absolutely no canonical grounds.

Secondly, the Greeks have repeated a hundred times that without the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the schismatics have nothing to do, because they stepped away not from Constantinople, but from the UOC. Therefore, accordingly, to acquire a "canonical status", it is worth talking to those from whom the schismatics moved away.

In this aspect, even Vladyka Alexander (Drabinko) gave an interesting example when in 2008 he was asked about the repentance of the Kiev Patriarchate before the Ecumenical Patriarchate: "Imagine such a picture. Someone raised a hand against his/her mother. And for this he/she was deprived of communication with the whole family. The time passed, and this person was tired of living alone. And he/she decided to ask… the uncle for forgiveness. Tell me, please, can the family accept such "repentance" and invite such a "relative" back? Repentance is not a political or diplomatic formality, it is a sacrament. And the profanation of the sacrament will not lead to the main thing: changing the way of being from the egoistic to the church one. So, even if air-built geopolitical strategies temporarily darken the ecclesiological consciousness of Constantinople, and it will agree to the version of "repentance" that you have voiced, nothing will change. The division between the canonical UOC and non-canonical church groups in Ukraine will remain as acute and dramatic as ever. In addition, Constantinople, will lay a "time-delayed mine" in its canonical field, integrating the uncontrolled church group into its structure. The schism cannot be cured mechanically. We need radical changes in the ecclesiastical consciousness, a change in the mind. And this is the main problem."

As for the role of Phanar in terms of recognizing the Kiev Patriarchate or granting it "autocephaly", in this situation there are several contradictory tendencies.

The Kiev Patriarchate, in its usual form, often states that the "Ukrainian issue" is the first on the agenda, and it is literally about to be resolved positively. But this view varied at different times. In 2010, Filaret stated that it was Patriarch Bartholomew who proposed to include the KP into the Constantinople Patriarchate, but this does not satisfy them: "The Patriarch of Constantinople suggests that the Ukrainian Church become part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the Patriarch of Moscow (Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Kirill) believes that we should return under the patronage of Moscow. But for us, this is the same thing."

Not so long ago, after a winter voyage of a KP delegation to Phanar, one of the ideologists of the Kyiv Patriarchate, Yuri Doroshenko, spoke in rather harsh terms against the same Ecumenical Patriarch: "Religious tourism. It's good! But we’ll have nothing from that swarm. The Greeks are deceitful and greedy. It's only officials from the Presidential Administration who are deceiving the President that they can solve something. We must develop the Kiev Patriarchate, and not play in the Yiddish games! Stick the deceptive canonicity in your ... cassock!" An interesting thesis: we are hoping for you, "dear Greeks", but in fact we do not need canonicality. It is worth noting that Doroshenko himself has visited Istanbul not once, but with the already mentioned Metropolitan of the UOC Alexander (Drabinko).

In this situation, the view of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is quite interesting. After all, very often we hear information that it is informally negotiating with the schismatics about the prospect of their joining the Constantinople Patriarchate, that this issue can really be decided upon by Bartholomew. In this context, two official statements of representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople are interesting.

One of them dates back to 1993, when the Kiev Patriarchate was born. Then Patriarch Bartholomew visited the Russian Orthodox Church, and when asked which Church he recognized in Ukraine, he said: "The Ecumenical Patriarchate during this visit signed a joint communiqué with the Moscow Patriarchate, in which it resolutely condemned the church schism in Ukraine and declared its solidarity and support for the suffering children of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. We officially announced that we recognize only one canonical Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine, Vladimir (Sabodan). The removal of the former Metropolitan of Kiev Filaret by the Holy Synod of the ROC was recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, since canonical Orthodox Churches should recognize the canonical actions of one another." (Orthodox Newspaper, No. 6 (10) August 1993)

And a recent comment belongs to Archbishop Job (Getcha), who also denied the myth of the two canonical jurisdictions in the territory of Ukraine: "But what is important to emphasize, and this is the canonical principle that in one territory there can only be one Church. That is, two autocephalous churches cannot be simultaneously in the same territory." Thus, the same Greeks show their respect for the canonical communities in Ukraine, in particular for the UOC.

And yet there is one more danger from the Kiev Patriarchate, which threatens not even the UOC or the ROC, but all Orthodoxy in general. This is the so-called "alternative group" of Orthodox Churches, which are unrecognized in World Orthodoxy. In 1999, Filaret said this openly: "… the creation of the second self-sufficient family of Orthodox Churches." On July 13, 2003, the official delegation of the Kiev Patriarchate visited Montenegro, where a "conference on the contemporary life of World Orthodoxy" was held. According to the information of the KP, this event was attended by the Montenegrin, Macedonian Churches, the UOC-KP and Bulgarian schismatics. As you know, these communities are unrecognized in the world canonical Orthodoxy. Contacts of the Kiev Patriarchate with schismatics from other Orthodox Churches continue, and the Ukrainian schismatics kindly accept them into their jurisdiction, provided they open their exarchate in those Churches, as in the case of Archimandrite Chrysostomos (Bakomitros) from Greece.

Therefore, summing up all the above, one thing is clear: the Kiev Patriarchate is really a global threat to the Orthodox Church. And with deep conviction, we can say that in Phanar, these arguments are considered. Only time will tell what will be the way out of the situation for the Kiev Patriarchate, if any.
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Poll

What will happen if the Church of Greece recognizes the OCU?
it will put itself out of Orthodoxy
47%
it will give rise to global recognition of the OCU by Local Churches
14%
nothing will happen, the Greeks will be the first and the last to recognize the OCU
39%
Total votes: 51

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