6 examples of falsehood in the foundation of OCU

09 July 2019 22:17
Persons related to the birth of the OCU. Photo: UOJ Persons related to the birth of the OCU. Photo: UOJ

"Hierarchs" of the OCU have talked so much about lies and manipulations by creating this structure that it is proper to ask a question – how legitimate is its existence?

The split in the OCU environment and the almost-daily “revelations” of its members about each other compel us to ask how legitimate the creation of this structure was. After all, the incredibly abundant lies, associated with the “Unification Council”, hardly allow one to call the formation created at it as a Church.

We all know that the ninth commandment given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai forbids lying. The Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Christians of the city of Ephesus wrote: “Having rejected a lie, speak truth to your neighbor for we are parts of one body” (Eph. 4:25).

Can a lie underlie the creation of the Church?

The holy evangelist Matthew describes an episode that clearly and unambiguously gives us knowledge of what the foundation of the Church is. “When he came to the countries of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is’? They said, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah, some of the prophets. He says to them, ‘But who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome It’.” (Matt 16, 13-18).

According to the unanimous opinion of the holy fathers, the Lord Jesus Christ did not create the Church on the person of the holy Apostle Peter, but on his confession that Jesus standing before him is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. On this confession both the Ecumenical Orthodox Church, and any church structure is based, be it an autocephalous Church, an autonomous, an exarchate wahtever. A specific manifestation of this confession in the canonical status of the church structure (autocephaly, autonomy, etc.) is expressed in the fact that such status is acquired in accordance with the will of God and the commandments of God.

The goal of the Church is to teach man to fulfill the commandments of God and lead him to the Kingdom of Heaven. If the creators of the church structure themselves obviously violate the commandments of God, it’s doubtful then whether such a formation is related to the Church.

The fact that the OCU is based on the lies and the desire of various participants in this project to twist each other around their fingers is not said by their opponents and detractors. This is said by the creators of the OCU.

If the creators of the church structure obviously violate the commandments of God themselves, it’s doubtful then whether such a formation is related to the Church.

On December 15, 2018, in the ancient Sophia Cathedral of Kiev, there was held an event which was proudly called the "Unification Council". But as it turns out, it was more like a master class on breaking the above commandment: “do not lie”. Well…

Lie #1: on participation of the UOC in creation of the OCU

Even today there are those who say that the “Unification Council” linked together three branches of Ukrainian Orthodoxy: the UOC KP, the UAOC and the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The latter was allegedly represented by two bishops and in their person participated in the union. By the way, Phanar adheres to the same point of view.

But the truth is that as early as December 7, 2018, at the meeting of the Holy Synod of the UOC, an official decision of the Church was made in light of the so-called “Unification Council”: “To consider the ‘Unification Council’ as an unlawful meeting, since representatives of breakaway groupings are going to participate in it. In this regard, on the basis of the Resolution of the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of November 13, 2018, the episcopate, clergy, monastics and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are not blessed to participate in the so-called Unification Council.”

The truth also lies in the fact that the two former UOC Metropolitans, Simeon (Shostatsky) and Alexander (Drabinko), who were present at the “Unification Council”, stated that they are not the UOC hierarchs, but the Patriarchate of Constantinople. They sent letters to Patriarch Bartholomew as their primate with a request to protect them from canonical punishments of the UOC. This was done before the "Unification Council". So they went to the event itself with the response letters of Patriarch Bartholomew, who greeted them as their bishops – “freeing from any responsibility or accusation, or any other penance imposed on you by any church body”. Former Metropolitan Alexander (Drabinko) did not even have any scruples to publish this letter on his Facebook page:

Letter of Patriarch Bartholomew. Photo: Facebook page of ex-Metropolitan Alexander (Drabinko)

Therefore, we can confidently state the fact that there was not a single UOC bishop at the “Unification Council” of December 15, 2018. And today the “honorary patriarch” of the OCU, Filaret Denisenko, confirms this, saying that the presence of the former UOC Metropolitan Simeon (Shostatsky) and Alexander (Drabinko) was an empty formality.

There is an overt lie that formed the backbone of the OCU.

Lie #2: about the UOC KP and UAOC ceasing their existence with the emergence of the OCU

It is believed that the UOC KP and the UAOC in the run-up to the “Inification Council” held their “Local Councils” (due to which the “council” began a few hours later), at which they made decisions on their self-dissolution. Thus, an institution of a new religious organization, OCU, was ostensibly held.

However, the truth is that it was objectively impossible to hold these “Local Councils” because of the statutes of the UOC KP and the UAOC. Therefore, it was decided to pretend these were “Local Councils”, turning a blind eye to all legal blunders and inconsistencies. What provisions of the UOC-KP Statute were violated was examined by the UOJ in the article “War of Councils: Has Filaret Really Reinstated Kiev Patriarchate?” If we also take an insight into the Statute of the UAOC, we are certain to come across a lot of violations as well. And since the so-called “Local Councils” of the UOC KP and the UAOC were held illegally, decisions about their dissolution are also illegal.

As a matter of fact, they did not vanish anywhere but continue to exist, as it is confirmed in black and white by the State Register of Legal Entities.

Screenshot of the UAOC religious center in the State Register of Legal Entities of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine

The religious center of the UAOC still exists, and in the search it is easy to find dozens and hundreds of churches of the UAOC, not the OCU, in the register.

As regards the UOC KP, the situation is similar. The leaders of the UOC KP and the UAOC, Filaret Denisenko and Makariy Maletich, say today that they do not intend to apply for the liquidation of their religious organizations. Here is a quotation from an interview with Makariy Maletich to the Apostrof edition dated May 23, 2019: “We also (as well as the UOC KP – Ed.) have not been eliminated in the state register. I will explain why. Some government officials did not tell the truth, publicly stating that the Kiev Patriarchate had been liquidated. The fact is that honorary patriarch Filaret provided only copies, but not the original documents, which are necessary for liquidation. When I was asked to submit documents for liquidation, I replied that until I saw the originals from my counterpart, I would not give my own.”

Needless to say, in the light of the current situation no one will get Filaret to present the original documents. So, both the UOC KP and the UAOC will continue to exist.

Consequently, it can be affirmed that there was no association (even of dissenters among themselves) at the “Unification Council” of December 15, 2018.

There is an overt lie that formed the backbone of the OCU.

Lie #3: Filaret wanted to cheat Patriarch Bartholomew, while Poroshenko-Epiphany cheated Filaret 

It is alleged that at the “Unification Council” Epiphany was elected head of the OCU, while Filaret was elected “honorary patriarch”. Here is how Filaret himself tells about this in an interview with the Comments publication: “I proposed to the President when preparations were being made for the Unification Council on December 15, 2018 the candidacy of Epiphany. But there was a condition that Epiphany would become a nominal head, whereas Patriarch Filaret would be an actual head of the Church in Ukraine. Hence, Metropolitan Epiphany would represent the Ukrainian Church from the outside – in the Orthodox world. This was my agreement with the President and with Epiphany. We did not sign any agreement, we took on trust, but it turned out that it was impossible to believe words.”

Well, it turns out that Filaret, Poroshenko and Epiphany agreed behind the scenes of the “Unification Council” that they would deceive Patriarch Bartholomew, supporters of the OCU, and the whole Orthodox world. And the “bishops” of this structure knew everything, but were silent. In the Church, silence is a commendable virtue, but clearly not in this case. St. Gregory the Theologian said that "God is betrayed by silence."

There is an overt lie that formed the backbone of the OCU.

Lie #4: about “honorary patriarch”

Today, everyone has become accustomed to this absurd phrase, which appeared in everyday life thanks to an easy state of mind of Eustraty Zoria – a recent adjutant of Filaret, and now – his “arch” enemy.

However, there are no honorary patriarchs in the true Church and cannot be. If there is a patriarch, then there is patriarchy. If there is no patriarchy, then there is no patriarch, everything is simple.

Filaret has never been considered a patriarch by anyone in the Orthodox world, including Phanar. Nevertheless, the Kiev Patriarchate, including Epiphany, Zoria, and others considered Filaret to be the patriarch and chanted the praises to him.

And now Phanar created an allegedly canonical Church from the Kiev Patriarchate and the UAOC and gave it the status of metropolis. What did the people, who suddenly became “canonical hierarchs”, have to do in this case? They had at least to obey the rules of the Church that "set them up in the world", i.e. Constantinople. But Phanar is far – and Filaret is near. That is why Epiphany, the hierarchs of the OCU and Poroshenko created a virtual reality in which there is a certain “Metropolitan of Kiev”, the head of the Church, and there is an “honorary patriarch” who controls the Eparchy belonging to the head of the Church.

There is an overt lie that formed the backbone of the OCU.

Lie #5: about foreign parishes and “bishops” of the OCU

At the time when the “Unification Council” was held, its members were aware of the contents of the Tomos for the OCU. One of the main provisions of this document was the assertion that all foreign parishes, dioceses and, consequently, the bishops of the UOC KP are transferred to the jurisdiction of Phanar.

Nevertheless, foreign “hierarchs” of the Kiev Patriarchate participated in this “Council”, voted in the elections of the “primate”, and remained after the creation of the OCU within the “episcopate” of the OCU. But not for long. For participation in the “Local Council” of the UOC KP on June 20, 2019, “metropolitan” Joasaph Shibaev of Belgorod and his “vicar” Peter Moskalev were excluded from the OCU by the “Synod”.

Joasaph Shibaev wrote the following about it: “At the Unification Council, whose participants we were at the invitation of Patriarch Bartholomew, the statute of the OCU was adopted by your deception. According to the 4th paragraph of this statute, the jurisdiction of the OCU extends only to the territory of Ukraine. My vicar and I are based outside Ukraine, which means outside the jurisdiction of the OCU. Who have you now expelled from the episcopate? We were not part of your episcopate and our participation in the Unification Council after the adoption of its statute was illegal. The statute was adopted by the first paragraph of the Council. By your deception, no longer being part of your OCU, we attended the Council. Why? You just needed our voices. It was unlawful to participate in this Assembly and all other bishops of the Diaspora – Met. Andrian (Starina), Bishop Filaret of Moldova, Met. Michael (Liarosh). Therefore, the advantage in the total voting outcome for Met. Epiphany is reduced by 5 people.”

As a result, the “metropolitan” of the UOC KP himself accuses his recent brethren of the fact that the “Unification Council” was held illegally. Joasaf Shibaev summarizes his message addressing the following words to the OCU: "You will undoubtedly go down in history as a predatory Church."

There is an overt lie that formed the backbone of the OCU.

Lie #6: about stealing the name of UOC

It became known after the "Unification Council". This is an attempt to pass the OCU for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. On January 30, the religious organization “Kiev Metropolis of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Orthodox Church of Ukraine)” was registered. In addition to the fact that this name is misleading, since it reproduces the name of the canonical UOC almost word for word, this name does not appear in any document of the OCU – neither in the statute nor in the Tomos, nor in the decisions of the Synod.

On June 18, 2019, the District Administrative Court of Kiev opened proceedings on the claim of the UOC on the abolition of the registration of the above “Kiev Metropolis of the UOC (OCU)”. From the point of view of pure jurisprudence, the probability of cancellation of registration is almost one hundred percent. If this does not happen, it means that political interests will interplay with religious ones as it is often the case in our country.

It is possible to count the seventh, eighth and other examples of lies at the foundation of the creation of the OCU, but it seems to be redundant. One thing is absolutely clear: a structure built on falsehood does not have the moral right to be called the Church, a structure built on breaking the commandment of God cannot teach people God's laws.

In the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord Jesus Christ describes two categories of people: some listen to His words and perform, others simply listen. The case of the former is akin to a house built on a stone, which is able to withstand any storms or winds. The latter case is a house built on sand, which collapses at the slightest trial.

Will the OCU, built on falsehood, be able to withstand the trials? An example of a new Filaret-led split shows that the first wind has already hit this construction hard.

“But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7, 26-27).

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