Is Dumenko a layman? Bad signs for OCU from Poland, Greece and Jerusalem

Sergei Dumenko is considered a layman and a schismatic. Photo: UOJ

Greek, Jerusalem and Polish clergy declared that the head of the OCU, Epifaniy Dumenko, is a false bishop, a schismatic and a layman. Let's figure out what it means.

Since the outbreak of the war, the OCU has been engaged in outright banditry, seizing dozens and hundreds of temples of the UOC. At the same time, the Dumenkovites pathetically call themselves "the recognized Ukrainian church." Meanwhile, there are tangible problems with this recognition. All Churches (except the Phanar) carefully avoid concelebration with Dumenko and his “hierarchs”. In addition, over the past few days, the three Local Churches have made simultaneous statements regarding the status of the OCU, its "episcopate" and personally Sergei Dumenko. Moreover, these statements are quite harsh.

Believers of Greece: Dumenko is a false bishop and layman in a cassock

On August 4, 2022, an upcoming visit of Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop Ieronymos and Epifaniy Dumenko was announced at a press conference, held in the hall of official events of the Philippian, Naples and Thassos Metropolis of the Greek Church.

Met. Stefanos, the head of the Metropolis, said that this “pilgrimage visit” is supposed to take place from September 3 to 6, 2022 on the occasion of the first official celebration of the Saints of Thassos and will include “church and cultural events in Thassos, Chrysopolis and Kavala.” Among these events is the joint liturgy.

Two days later, an open letter from several hundred Greek laity to Metropolitan Stefanos, Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop Ieronymos and the Synod of the Greek Church was published by the Greek church media.

In the letter, believers write that they were happy to learn about the visit to the celebrations of the Synaxis of the Saints of the island of Thassos by such distinguished guests as Patriarch Bartholomew and the Primate of the Greek Church. However, they did not express any joy in relation to Sergei Dumenko.

“Our jubilation, however, turned into sorrow, when reports appeared that during this festivity would be attended by the schismatic false bishop of Kyiv, Epifaniy, who is a layman in vestments,” the believers wrote and added that “the so-called Autocephalous Church of Ukraine was not recognized by 10 out of 14 Orthodox Churches that do not have communion with the schismatic Metropolitan Epifaniy and his associates, the so-called clergy.”

"Epifaniy is a schismatic false bishop of Kyiv, who is a layman in vestments."

The letter also says that concelebrating with "laity by origin" is an insult to the high priesthood, bestowed by God.

There were 407 lay signatures at the time of publication, and, according to the letter, the laity will continue to collect signatures until they make sure the invitation for Dumenko has been withdrawn.

It’s noteworthy that this metropolis does not pertain to those that in 2019 protested against the decision of the Greek Church to recognize the OCU (such as Piraeus or Kerkyra). Moreover, it is part of the so-called "new territories", which have dual subordination – both to the Church of Greece and to the Phanar.

Therefore, the laity who signed the document are the nominal flock of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and personally Patriarch Bartholomew. Moreover, 4.5 years have passed since the Tomos of Autocephaly was granted to Sergei Dumenko. During this time, people could think twice about the Phanar's arguments on the legalization of Ukrainian schismatics and come to some conclusion. This conclusion is categorical: Sergei Dumenko and his “episcopate” have nothing to do with the Church, they are just laymen, who wear church vestments.

Polish Primate: Epifaniy is a layman without ordination

On August 9, 2022, the Primate of the Polish Church, Metropolitan Sawa, in an interview with the polityka resource, once again stated that both Dumenko and his entire “church” are lay people without canonical consecrations.

“Filaret was defrocked and had no right to perform further ordinations. We mean the non-canonical ordination of Epifaniy, the head of this new Ukrainian church… Epifaniy was “ordained” by the former Metropolitan Filaret, who was deprived of his episcopal consecration which means he is formally a layman,” the Metropolitan said.

He emphasized that the Polish Church does not recognize Filaret’s “ordinations” and recalled that Patriarch Bartholomew held the same position not so long ago: “For 22 years, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople would recognize the decision of the Moscow Patriarchate to defrock Metropolitan Filaret and depose him to the status of a layman as a schismatic of the Church. But various forces intervened: someone tried to convince Patriarch Bartholomew to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church under the leadership of Epifaniy.”

Epifaniy was “ordained” by the former Metropolitan Filaret, who was deprived of his episcopal consecration, i.e. defrocked, which means he is formally a layman.

Metropolitan Sawa

Well, it has long been obvious to everyone: “All Orthodox Churches, including ours, recognize that Filaret was defrocked and has no right to ordain others.”

Unlike Patriarch Bartholomew or Patriarch Theodore (head of the Church of Alexandria), the Polish First Hierarch does not have the habit of saying one thing today and another tomorrow. He said absolutely the same thing in 2018: “This young secular man (Dumenko, – Ed.) suffered great harm when he was appointed metropolitan. In the light of canon law, he is not a clergyman. He is not ordained in the canonical Church."

Jerusalem hierarch: Epifaniy is a schismatic serving anti-church forces

On August 4, 2022, Archbishop Theodosios of Sebastia (Patriarchate of Jerusalem) made a statement. The main topic of his statement was a comment on the call of Sergei Dumenko to strip the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church of his title as patriarch. However, we will pay attention to how the Jerusalem bishop characterizes Dumenko himself.

“He (Dumenko – Ed.) and the schismatics under his leadership are the main problem, they became the reason for what we all came to: a church schism and the cessation of Eucharistic communion with a number of Local Orthodox Churches. The schismatic Epifaniy does not have the authority to become an initiator of resolving the church crisis, because he himself is at the head of it, an integral part of it and the cause of many problems within the Orthodox Church.”

The Archbishop also believes that Dumenko and his supporters are “servants of political forces hostile to our Church, who have unleashed the current crisis that requires a speedy resolution.”

"The schismatic Epifaniy is at the head of the church crisis, is an integral part of it and the cause of many problems within the Orthodox Church.”

Archbishop of Sebastia

What is the way out of the situation?

While in Ukraine Sergei Dumenko and his retinue continue to trumpet on being “the primate of the united Ukrainian autocephalous church,” it is believed differently abroad. The war paused and froze the pan-Orthodox conflict caused by the Phanar's recognition of the OCU, but did not solve it.

Yes, Dumenko is now trying to maximize the "combat operations" against the UOC in order to completely destroy it. The absolute accession of the OCU in Ukraine would be an ideal option for both Dumenko and Patriarch Bartholomew, since it would “solve” all problems. However, it is now clear that this goal is unattainable. Despite the global wave of raiding, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church retains the status of the largest denomination in the country. That is why the “Ukrainian issue” remains pending before Orthodoxy as in all recent years. How to address it?

The Council of the UOC in Feofaniya articulated it quite clearly: in order to be able to conduct some kind of negotiations with the OCU on an equal footing, it must solve the problem of the lack of canonical consecrations. Dumenko arrogantly called it "preconditions and ultimatums." But, as we see, the world thinks otherwise. Dumenko is a “false bishop”, “schismatic”, “layman in a cassock”. Anyway, we are not at all trying to offend the head of the OCU. The lack of consecrations is a real problem that cannot be avoided or “silenced”. Both the primates and the synods of other Churches, such as Albanian and Romanian, spoke about this.

There are two ways to address this issue: either repentance and re-ordination (which means recognition of one's secular status), or repentance and recognition by Orthodoxy of the current rank of oikonomia. Yes, it looks fantastic now, but there is no other way.

In any case, Orthodoxy must solve the Ukrainian issue in a conciliar way.

According to Metropolitan Sawa, he told Patriarch Bartholomew bluntly, “that instead of helping Ukraine, this so-called tomos divided it.” Asked by the head of the Phanar about what had to be done, he answered, “We need to convene the Primates of the Local Churches, decide what to do with Epifaniy, and thus get out of this precarious situation.”

True, there is a war in Ukraine now, people are dying, and the timing for meetings and councils seems bad. However, the war will end, but the problem will remain. And it must be solved sooner or later.

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