As a “Cathedral” of unity leads to new schisms in Ukraine

“The unification” Church of the supporters of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine has not led to the discharge of ecclesiastical tension. The course of events proves once again that the true goal of the current Ukrainian authorities – not the overcoming of schisms in the Ukrainian Orthodoxy and the destruction of the largest in the country, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, whose clergy in the mass has not changed the oath of allegiance to the Church and joined the dissenters, of which today the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko collects new Church organization, completely dependent on the Patriarchate of Constantinople.


  • Ukrainian Church – what’s happening
  • Ukraine has begun an inventory of the property of the UOC
  • The Ukrainian authorities accuse of the UOC of provoking sectarian strife
  • Participated in the “Cathedral” bishops of the UOC became the schism of the Ukrainian Church

Caesar The Gods

On 15 December, the Sobor elected new Primate of the independent Russian Patriarchate ”Church” 39-year-old “Bishop” non-canonical Kiev Patriarchate of Epiphanius, who in Church circles is called the protege of the head of this group, the former Metropolitan Filaret of the UOC.

A new Church organization called “the Orthodox Church in Ukraine” (ptsu) and, as stated, includes “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) and the so-called Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC). As already announced by President Poroshenko, on the eve of the Orthodox Christmas together with the Epiphany he arrives at Fanar (the historical district of Istanbul, where the residence of the Ecumenical Patriarch) with the Tomos of autocephaly.

In speeches, Poroshenko repeated the thesis of “one Church”, whose creation decree will complete the Patriarchate of Constantinople. But a serious problem for the Ukrainian President that this very unity even among the autocephalists no. The fact that Poroshenko is obliged to admit the existence of contradictions, only emphasizes their depth.

At a press conference organized following the “Cathedral”, Ukrainian President said that the negotiations for this meeting (probably between the universal Church and “Kiev Patriarchate”) several times appeared on the verge of collapse.

“We had at least five cases, when negotiations on the “Cathedral” came to a standstill. And he found a solution with my participation… When someone wanted to leave the Cathedral and thought of the way out there…” – said Poroshenko, however, did not specify who exactly he has in mind.

The President himself puts the case in the merit (interference in Church Affairs he has long been not shy), but this recognition of the obvious differences within the Autocephalous lobby, constrained only by the will of Poroshenko.

To leave the “Cathedral” of the scandal would the group influence Filaret inside KP. So she was blackmailing the government and other interest groups in the interests of the protege of the Epiphany. In fact, his competitor “Metropolitan of Lutsk and Volyn” Michael was forced to forgo participation in the second round of the elections, “Primate”, thereby ensuring the victory minions Filaret over the protege Poroshenko himself is a defector from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Simeon, who according to the decision of the Synod was fired and banned from serving.

But Michael bounced back after a “Cathedral”, making a press conference statement about the “wrong side” of the elections and the desire still to take his throne.

And this is a bad signal for the entourage of Filaret and of course for Poroshenko, making the new Church the main rate in future presidential campaign. “Michael still hopes that will take the place of the Primate of the new Church. Fanar was able to “knock down” Filaret, however, Epiphanius was held close to the head of the CP.

If he wants more independence than willing to give the Ecumenical Patriarchate, it is possible that there will bet on Michael and others dissatisfied with the election results “hierarchy”. And old conflicts in KP will get nourishment,” – says Kiev political analyst Alexei Yakubina.

Fanar angry

However, the grievance Fanara may be other. “Kiev Patriarchate” and the UAOC has officially announced the dissolution before entering into the new Church organization ptsu. Next, however, was not reported about the beginning of legal procedures for their liquidation. It is unclear when to begin, and as will be re-parishes.

Some believe that the topic purposely take public attention for the sake of non-canonical structures in the case of friendship with the Ecumenical Patriarchate will not work or the main lobbyist of autocephaly Poroshenko will lose elections (and the new Church organization will remain without government support, at least at the current unprecedented level).

“Fanaru this option definitely will not like it. Bartholomew (the Ecumenical Patriarch – ed.) is unlikely to leave the fact of preservation of the “Kiev Patriarchate” and the UAOC without attention. Besides, they are hostages of the discourse about the “United” Church. On the other hand, can eliminate and tighten to look at the changing political environment…” – says the analyst Yakubina.

But, given the conversations about the desire of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to acquire their own facilities on the territory of Ukraine, including at the expense of KP, “alternate aerodrome” may be useful.

Wood for the elections

It is obvious that the fuse from the immersion in the strife again will the Administration of President Poroshenko. Its other task is the defeat of the UOC, comparisons to which can not withstand the created “Church.” According to official data, the number of parishes in the UOC, there are 12 thousand, which are 10 thousand priests. And KP before the merger was $ 4.7 million 3.4 thousand temples and priests of the UAOC – 1 thousand parishes and 700 priests. Even United in one Church organization, both structures are inferior in the impact of the UOC. Monasteries, the difference is even more serious.

To the “Cathedral” to split or at least split off the part of the clergy of the UOC to the “Cathedral” did not work. Then Autocephalous lobby headed by Poroshenko pulled out a long-prepared script about the forced renaming of the Church through Parliament.

For this decision voted by 240 deputies from the ruling party and loyal to the government parliamentarians. According to their logic, the UOC should officially be called the Exarchate of the ROC in Ukraine, because, as the authors of the idea, its control center located in Moscow. However, in the Charter of the UOC States the opposite: that it is governed from Kiev by the Holy Synod and bishops ‘ Council of the UOC. In addition, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in 1990 received the Tomos of independence. Therefore, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the law does not concern it, but it want de to put pressure on the Church, violating the Constitution.

The Orthodox Church understands that accepted the act with the apparent aim of discrediting her in the eyes of the congregation. How this is doable – the question is, after all, and spiritual unity with the Russian Orthodox Church for the faithful was never a secret. And has not led to a serious outflow of the parishes, even in Western Ukraine, where you do not have for Russia of warm feelings.

There is another explanation that it is simply an attempt to shape public opinion before making another law about the change of the jurisdiction of the Church community, better known as the law of Church raiding. It is needed for the forcible transfer of parishes in the PCU.

Time before the presidential elections remains a little, and Poroshenko has to hurry. And in a rush you can mess things up, but people think about it in the struggle for power?

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