Lie and hatred in OCU: what Poroshenko-Filaret project is based on
Who deceived whom when creating the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
The schism of the OCU can already be considered a fait accompli. This structure has collapsed before it has even started. Many are confident that the situation will change as soon as Filaret Denysenko calms down (or rest). But this is far from the case. Indeed, quite recently, these same many have been convinced that the problem of the elder would resolve itself, once he took the Tomos in his hands. It wasn’t resolved. And so even after Filaret’s death, the problem will remain because it is not in the person but in the sin of pride that controls him.
In other words, there are some spiritual laws that affect a person more strongly than political conjuncture. And let these laws mean nothing to supporters of the OCU, they will not cease to act anyway. Without repentance, a change in the human being and victory over sin are simply impossible. This is the law. And not a single piece of paper can cancel it.
OCU – the Political Church of Ukraine
Name-calling, accusations of lies and lust for power, the existence of backstage intrigues, the inability to agree and keep the agreements, the involvement of business structures and authorities in the resolution of church issues, in fact the complete absence of basic respect for each other – we see all this in the case of the OCU.
"Patriarch" Filaret seems to have decided to burn all the bridges behind him and go right through. His latest statements broke that idyllic atmosphere of enthusiasm from receiving the Tomos, in which a common Ukrainian man has been immersed for several months.
In turn, the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Andrei Parubiy promises that the Parliament will safeguard the Tomos and the interests of the OCU. And some functionaries argue that behind the conflict there is a terrible shadow of the Kremlin. Moreover, the Kremlin turns out to be acting on both sides of the conflict – on behalf of Filaret and on behalf of Epiphany.
The question is where the Church is? We will not get the answer because there is no Church here. Instead, there is a certain political structure with strong religious colouring. And when we hear from representatives of this structure something about canons and holy fathers, we are perplexed just as if we heard about it at a meeting of the Verkhovna Rada.
Epiphany's reaction: "It’s not my fault"
On May 14, the “Honorary Patriarch” Filaret published his famous theses, in which he expressed a position regarding what is happening to the newly created “Church”. We will not dwell on them again. We are interested in any substantiated reaction from the leadership of the OCU. We have not heard such a reaction for a long time, except for the words that “the Tomos will be taken away”.
Finally, on May 16, Epiphany gave an interview, in which he tried to explain what is happening. Let's say right away that he failed.
From this interview, we never learned why the UOC KP was not legally liquidated. And this means that it exists, whether Epiphany wants it or not. We never heard the answer to the question of why Epiphany ceased communicating with Filaret immediately after his election as head, especially as Dumenko himself does not deny that he owes his election in large part to Filaret. Epiphany’s words that the OCU is only “to become the largest Church in Ukraine” is also surprising. Indeed, quite recently, both Dumenko himself and his henchmen have unanimously declared that almost the entire population of the country supports them. In addition, he admitted that the OCU is experiencing serious financial problems and that Filaret controls all financial flows from Kiev churches and, moreover, humiliates Epiphany as a “bishop”.
There is no Church here. Instead, there is a certain political structure with strong religious colouring.
All this interview, in which there are absolutely no specifics, only showed that Dumenko and representatives of the OCU are trying to smooth out the conflict that has arisen within their structure as much as possible. At the same time, it becomes clear that there is still no intelligible answer to the question of how to do this. Therefore, they have to give an evasive answer.
Ex-Metropolitan authorized to declare
On the evening of May 15, Alexander (Drabinko), a representative of the OCU, the former Metropolitan of Vishneve, took the liberty to somehow respond to Filaret Denisenko. The arguments of the former hierarch of the UOC are of interest to us because there is no doubt that they are precisely the position of the OCU, which the ex-metropolitan only voiced.
Neither Epiphany, nor even the UOC KP spokesperson Eustratiy Zoria (who does not comment on what is happening, despite all his incredible media activity) can essentially object to their “spiritual teacher”, “elder” and “patriarch”. After all, quite recently they have praised the merits of Filaret regarding the receipt of the Tomos, stressed his outstanding role, and in every way extolled his wisdom and prudence. In addition, apparently, there are other reasons that do not allow them to speak out against their mentor in the open.
The former bishop Alexander can do it. First of all, he is a defector, a traitor to the UOC. He is a priori one of the “bishops” for whom Filaret is anathema. Secondly, he does not owe anything to Filaret, except, perhaps, his Ph.D. thesis, in which he strongly criticized the schismatic Kiev Patriarchate and Denisenko personally. Thirdly, he did not witness any agreements between Filaret and Epiphany and therefore can demand their documentary evidence. In short, ex-Metropolitan Alexander is the best suited for the role of such a touchstone, which should test the strength of Filaret’s arguments and at the same time clearly indicate the positions of his enemies.
The text of the “official address” (as the former bishop entitled it) does not represent anything interesting to a large extent. But there are some points that I would like to highlight.
"Patriarch" – true or false?
Immediately after the “Unifying Council,” Eustratiy Zoria reported that Filaret remains with the title of the “Honorary Patriarch” of the OCU. But ex-Metropolitan Alexander (Drabinko) states that "the title of the ‘Honorary Patriarch of Kiev and all Ukraine’ which is regularly used in relation to Metropolitan Filaret in the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, is not approved by any conciliar decision of our Church".
In this regard, we want to somewhat refresh the memory of the former metropolitan and recall the decision of the “Holy Synod” of the UOC KP dated October 20, 2018, which states that the title of this structure has two forms – full and abbreviated: “the reduced title has the following form: "His Holiness (name), Patriarch of Kiev and all Rus-Ukraine". <...> In relations with other Local Orthodox Churches, the permissible form is "His Beatitude Archbishop (name), Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus-Ukraine" and derivatives of it." It was this form that Epiphany has been using.
But during “divine services, the title of Primate is proclaimed in accordance with the text of the Episcopal Service book, adopted in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate: ‘His Holiness (name), Patriarch of Kiev and all Rus-Ukraine’". Filaret has easily used this title. In the statute of the OCU, this essential moment is not commented on in any way – there is simply nothing about titling.
But there is in the text of the Tomos, which reads that the head of the “Most Holy Church of Ukraine” (in Tomos it is indicated that way, and not the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”) “bears the title ‘His Beatitude Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine’”. Moreover, Phanariots especially stressed that “no addition or subtraction from his title is allowed without the permission of the Church of Constantinople”, clearly referring to Filaret’s claims.
The appeal to the fact that the title of “patriarch” was established by the “Synod” of the UOC KP, and not of the OCU, is completely pointless, since on February 5 at the first session of the Synod of the OCU it was clearly stated that “His Holiness Patriarch Filaret continues to lead the Kiev Eparchy consisting of the parishes and monasteries of Kiev (excluding St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery of Kiev), which until December 15, 2018, were subordinate to him as Patriarch of Kiev and all Rus-Ukraine”.
So, the meeting of the OCU “bishops” had nothing against the title of the “His Holiness Patriarch”. Moreover, it was at the very "Synod" that decisions were made regarding the titles of the "episcopate" of the OCU, and only two "bishops" did not make it into the list of those whose titles should be approved – Epiphany and Filaret. By tacit agreement, they remained "His Beatitude" and "His Holiness". Therefore, when ex-Metropolitan Alexander says that there was no “conciliar decision” regarding the “patriarchy” of Filaret, he either tells a lie or does not remember the event.
Patriarchate as psychological support
OCU officials probably understand that no canons or decisions can justify the “titular” chaos within their organization. Therefore, they are trying to explain their position by agreeing to the “patriarchy” of Filaret for psychological reasons: “Calling Metropolitan Filaret the “Honorary Patriarch”, His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphany and other hierarchs of the former Kiev Patriarchate honor their teacher and psychologically ease his withdrawal from personal leadership of the Church."
This phrase so clearly highlights the whole essence of the OCU, that it must not only be analyzed in detail but also remembered for future generations because that says it all.
Phanariots specially stressed that “no addition or subtraction from his title (of the OCU head – Ed.) is allowed without the permission of the Church of Constantinople”, clearly referring to Filaret’s claims.
Firstly, this phrase emphasizes that any title within the schism does not have any meaningful meaning. This is a kind of game, during which the guys agree on who will be "general", "Hitler" or "Napoleon". You want to be a “patriarch”? You are welcome! Actually, nothing surprising? Indeed, there can be no other way inside the schism because the whole schism is at best a game of “Church” and at worst a blasphemy and against the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, the phrase suggests that Filaret has serious psychological problems.
Thirdly, it once again indicates that the whole life-long struggle for “patriarchy” is dictated solely by lust for power and his own ambitions rather than anything else.
Well, fourthly, with this very phrase, ex-Metropolitan Alexander confirms that there were certain agreements between Filaret, Epiphany and other "bishops" of the UOC KP, and he knows about them.
Agreements – true or false?
However, the head of the OCU Epiphanius said in a recent interview with the BBC: “Personally, I did not give any promises before the Council. During half a year, negotiations have been conducted, there have been many meetings and different offers have been given. I was not present at all negotiations but attended a considerable part of them. The last agreement on December 14, before the Council, was put on paper without my presence. This was the final position. Perhaps, everyone was thinking about their own, but in the end all agreements are finalized with what? Signing documents. Therefore, now to say that someone promised someone somewhere is inappropriate.” So, this is the common "not in my backyard" message.
But even from this text, it is clear there were some agreements because, according to Dumenko, "everyone was thinking about their own". But if there was nothing, then there was nothing to think about, wasn’t it?
In addition, as the Orthodox blogger Layman Vasily rightly noted, “Considering the confidence with which Filaret stated five months ago that he remained the patriarch and would lead together with Epiphany, I am sure that there were agreements. But Epiphany cannot now admit this, because it will destroy his authority. Therefore, he has nothing but denies. But, I stress, he did not deny the fact that such agreements could take place. That is, Poroshenko really could give some guarantees to Filaret and later deceive him. Epiphany’s remark that if there were agreements, they would be written on paper is also interesting. This is the "not caught – not a thief" answer."
In turn, ex-Metropolitan Alexander does not exclude that these agreements could take place. However, according to him, “no one informed the fullness of the Local Council about these agreements. Those present did not know about these arrangements. And if such agreements did take place between Patriarch Filaret, Vladyka Epiphanius and President Poroshenko, they could take place in the Warm Church, where the Council on self-dissolution and the liquidation of the KP was held”.
Who is lying in this situation is absolutely unimportant because, most likely, they both lie – one that did not promise anything, the second – that he did not know about anything.
Filaret himself argues that the agreement was verbal because he believed both Epiphany and Poroshenko: “There were agreements between me and the President, with Epiphany too. And not only between the three of us but also with the bishops,” Filaret said. “And at the Council of Bishops there was the same agreement: that I continue to govern the Church on the territory of Ukraine together with Epiphany, and he represents the Church in external relations. That was such an agreement ... We did not sign this agreement, because I trusted both the President and Epiphany. But they deceived."
"The deceiver is deceived"
Archpriest Vladimir Puchkov, head of the press service of the Vinnitsa Eparchy of the UOC, commented on the whole situation very well. We quote his post completely:
"Well, Filaret, Epiphany, and Poroshenko agreed to deceive Bartholomew in order to give autocephaly to the structure where Filaret would steer behind Epiphany. Bartholomew, in turn, deceived all the three, granting the Tomos on such terms that one name remained from the promised autocephaly. Poroshenko deceived Simeon, promising him practically the primacy in the new structure. Simeon deceived his own flock, promising not to move anywhere. The mythical ten hierarchs of the UOC deceived Simeon by not appearing at the Council in Sofia. The Sofia Council deceived the illusions of the Greeks by electing a dubious person to the primacy without a legal priesthood. The civil society deceived the OCU, shouting at all corners that all Ukrainians would rush into its ranks at once, and even the unbaptized would stand in line for a funeral service. The OCU deceived the expectations of the civil society, showing that even with the support of the state and carte blanche to rob, the UOC is way out of reach. The Phanar deceived the OCU, promising it recognition of the Local Churches. The local Churches deceived the Phanar’s hopes by not recognizing the OCU. And now Filaret also claims that he has been deceived. By Poroshenko with Epiphany. Just when they were planning together Bartholomew’s deceit. A curtain…"
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In this context, I would like to recall the reproaches addressed to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry that it was necessary to participate in the “Unification Council” of the OCU and lead this new “Church”. And in this case, wouldn't it happen what we are now witnessing? It would, of course. And it is simply impossible to imagine His Beatitude participating in these clarifications of relationships because there cannot be anything in common between light and darkness, between Christ and Belial.
The conflict in the OCU clearly showed that the anathema to Mikhail Denisenko is absolutely fair – this is a man sick with pride. He has been engaged in the conscious destruction of the Church all his life and is ready to receive two more anathemas, just not to take off the white cowl of Moscow Patriarchs. This means that the “Church” he founded is seriously ill, and its mechanical attachment to the Body of Christ is a danger to all of us. The only way out is repentance. Another way to heal the schismatics is impossible.