Is there life after Thomas?

Ukraine is waiting for the so-called “unification Church Cathedral”, scheduled for 15 December in Kiev. As conceived by its organizers, the Cathedral should be the penultimate step towards the implementation of the project on autocephaly, cherish a secular government (and specifically – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko), and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, headed by Patriarch Bartholomew and unrecognized “churches” in Ukraine.

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At this Congress, under which divert the ancient Church of Hagia Sophia, conceived to adopt the Charter of the new United Church education and to elect its “leader.” However, to date side fit differences that will result in scandals in the Cathedral. But under pressure from Poroshenko, the case is likely to reach decisions that the Patriarchate of Constantinople would rush to endorse.

So let’s see what implications they carry for “churches” and the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), headed by his Beatitude Onouphry.

Metropolitan Onufry. Photo:

A few days before the Cathedral, the chief lobbyist of the Tomos of autocephaly – the Administration of the President of Ukraine – not even trying to play in democracy and constitutional law. Clearly at the behest of the heads of regional administrations meet with the ruling bishops of the UOC, to give them the invitation of Patriarch Bartholomew at the December Council.

The first in the UOC this letter was received by the Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine Onufry, but because of its content, full of ultimatums, returned it to Fanar (the historic district, where the residence of the Patriarch of Constantinople).

For example, his Beatitude Vladyka began to arrive, and the bishops at the Ecumenical Patriarchate sent a similar invitation.

Alexei Yakubina

For the administration Poroshenko, the situation with correspondence Bartholomew’s was the occasion again to put pressure on the bishops of the Church, which the majority refuses to play the presidential game with Tomos.

“Bank (unofficial nickname of the presidential Administration of Ukraine, on behalf of the street where it is located – ed.) wants at this Council were as many hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church”, – says the Kyiv political analyst Alexei Yakubina. But, according to information from the Church, ready to cooperate with the authorities and dissenters only a few.

Maneuvers Filaret

The obstinacy of the clergy of the UOC remains the main but not the only problem for Poroshenko. Knowing on what conditions ready to give a Tomos Patriarch of Constantinople, unrecognized “Kiev Patriarchate” stood in a pose.

According to official statements and messages in social networks of the speakers, “the Church” of the former Metropolitan Filaret did not like two things in the procedure of the unification of the Cathedral.

First, the Ecumenical Patriarchate requires the participation of, besides the bishops of the Ukrainian “churches,” the laity and ordinary clergy. And “Kiev Patriarchate” speaks only of the right to vote for the episcopate, and this is understandable, because 40 “bishops” give Filaret obvious advantage in voting for future Primate. He will be able to elect the most loyal to his figure or even to make his candidacy and win the “elections”, ignoring the opinion is not zaluusaa it Constantinople.

Filaret. Photo:

“The Patriarch and his entourage are still willing to lead a new Church structure,” commented political analyst Yakubina. But the voices of the members of the Council from among the believers and priests changing the balance not in their favor. However, in Church circles there is talk that Philaret and Macarius (the head of the unrecognized “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church”) allegedly sent Bartholomew rejection letter to run for the post of Primate.

Secondly, the vote, according to Fanara must be closed, whereas in the “Kyiv Patriarchate” I want an open – obviously to know about the choice of their delegates.

Eustratius Zorya

“As the Council we clearly have the right to make suggestions, argue and support them”, – wrote on his page on Facebook press Secretary of the “Kiev Patriarchate” Eustratius Zorya.

And Filaret warned that if the opinion of the “Kiev Patriarchate” will not be considered, he and his supporters can stop successful holding of a unifying Council.

“If it (the terms of the Constantinople Patriarchate – ed.) will be useful for us – we will take, and if it is unprofitable neither to us, neither the state nor the Ukrainian Church – we just don’t vote and reject,” said the head of the unrecognized “Church.”

In the “Kiev Patriarchate” held the Council of bishops on 13 December, which allegedly approved the candidacy for the post of Primate and agreed on its own version of the Charter of the future “Church” based on the wording of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. On whom stopped, and that the statutes do not say. And it will continue to bargain. But other groups Autocephalous lobby has warned that if the Filaret’s churchmen will not go back on their word, they will be accused of disrupting the unity Cathedral. But, as the analyst believes Yakubina, the presidential Administration will do anything to pacify the “Kiev Patriarchate” to the date or even in the Cathedral itself. Therefore, the adviser of the President of Ukraine Rostyslav Pavlenko, on Bank responsible for relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, gave evasive answers to the question of the duration of the forum…

PR on religious feelings

With high probability, however, it can be assumed that Poroshenko, which builds on the autocephaly of his election campaign, dodavit the election at the Cathedral of a Primate (the name for it is secondary), to whom Bartholomew, most likely, on its own terms, will receive a document called the Tomos of autocephaly.

It is therefore important to understand how it will affect the UOC. Obviously, any decision of the Council will not be recognized by the Church and its internal structure will not be affected.

Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich

“To our congregation, they will not mean anything. There is a decision of the Holy Synod, who described the “Council” illegal Assembly”, – said the Deputy head of the Department for external Church relations of the UOC Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich.

But the Cathedral may have serious consequences for the UOC. “Our opponents (supporters of autocephaly – ed.) do not hide the fact that the next year or two they will strive to tear off from the Church as many communities, priests and bishops. And it shows as if the inferiority of the created structure, or where the need to “stimulate” the transitions of the UOC in the new “Church”?.. At parish level will go to the temples, especially in villages. There is usually only one Church. But then will be divided communities and left without a temple part will begin to build a new one.

Such examples have already been… As we expected, the city parishes will move less. Depends on the priest, whose role in this sense will be very big,” says Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich.

To facilitate the care communities, the government will probably return to the idea to pass a law making it easier for communities to change affiliation to a particular Church. He even earned the nickname of the law on “Church RAID”. In the Ukrainian Parliament for a long time is his project. And the second step will be the adoption of the law on the forced name change of the UOC, which she will prepare Autocephalous probably, “the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.” That millions of believers will become strangers in their own country, Autocephalous lobby does not bother…


As of 1 January 2018, the UOC has more than 12 thousand parishes. Filaret hoped that half of them go into a Autocephalous project. “Kiev Patriarchate”, according to official figures, has 4.8 thousand parishes, “the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” – 1.2 thousand But, according to all observations, the mood in the UOC does not panic. Despite threats and pressure from the authorities, ordinary priests and bishops, remain loyal to the Church, while waiting for the new persecution.

Archimandrite Alypy (Svetlichny)

“Yes, there will be pressure, there will be attacks “conscious activists” would be harassment and a parade of compromising the most exotic destinations. It’s gonna be. But worth to wait. Because he that endures to the end will be saved. And the fallen seed will produce abundant sprouts!” – wrote on Facebook the Abbot of the Kiev Church of the Holy apostles Peter and Paul, Archimandrite Alypy (Svetlichny).

Expect changes after the Cathedral and the “Kiev Patriarchate”. Expectations are that Tomos will give them the opportunity to communicate with other Orthodox Churches and all the Christian world. “For ordinary believers, in the first place, will change that state of separation that exists between Orthodox – although not immediately, but in a certain perspective”, said the press Secretary of the “Kiev Patriarchate” yevstratiy Zorya.

But it is obvious that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, without accepting the decisions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Cathedral will continue to refuse parishioners the “Kiev Patriarchate” in the sacraments. The unification Council is only in campaign speeches Poroshenko and his associates in the surplice.


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