Κυριακή, 10 Δεκεμβρίου 2017

THE OFFICIAL POSITION OF THE UOC-KP ON PATRIARCH FILARET'S LETTER TO ROC



Οn December 1, at an official press conference in the Kyiv Patriarchate, Patriarch Filaret commented why he wrote a letter to Patriarch Kirill and Russian hierarchs. According to him, it was neither Russia’s nor Ukraine’s initiative, but the one of America.

The head of the UOC-KP noted that, long before the Moscow Council, the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church through the agency of Metropolitan Hilarion of New York of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad submitted proposals for reconciliation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the UOC-KP.

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Subsequently, meetings of representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and the UOC-KP took place. At the first meeting the Kyiv Patriarchate was represented by the Head of the Department of External Church Relations (DECR) Archbishop Hilarion (Procyk), Rector of St Vlolodymyr Cathedral Fr. Boris Tabachek and Fr Bogdan Zgob from the UOC-KP parishes in the USA. The Moscow side was represented by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev).

Patriarch Filaret stated that it was on the part of the Moscow Patriarchate that the desire for reconciliation was expressed. In order to achieve reconciliation, “sanctions” from the supreme leader of the UOC-KP should be withdrawn.

As the Patriarch of the UOC-KP noted, since sanctions were imposed by the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, the same agency should relieve them.

From Moscow, they expressed a desire to do this, but they could not settle it so easily. An appeal was requested from Patriarch Filaret, on the basis of which the issue would be put on the agenda of the Council. As Patriarch Filaret stated, it was a personal request of Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) that such letter was written.

“At first I was not ready for this, but they insisted ... For the sake of reconciliation, I wrote the appeal,” he said.

Later there was another meeting of the representatives of the two Churches. The Kyiv Patriarchate was represented by Metropolitan Dmytro (Rudyuk), Archbishop Yevstraty (Zorya) and Archbishop Ilarion (Procyk). According Patriarch Filaret, this meeting concerned reconciliation and the future autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church.

However, the expectations of the UOC-KP from the Council did not materialize.

“There was no reconciliation, for the Council took advantage of it (the letter - Ed.), using it not to reconciliation, but presenting it as a desire to return to the Moscow Patriarchate,” said the head of the UOC-KP.

“I want to state firmly, there is no repentance that I have chosen the path of autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” said the First Hierarch of the UOC-KP, noting that every independent state has the right to an independent Church.

"You see, how Moscow deceives, it cannot be trusted. Remember, when Ukraine handed over nuclear weapons, Russia acted as the guarantor of the inviolability of borders. Did it fulfill the promise? No, it captured the Crimea and waged war in the East. The same is true in the church plane. It asked for an appeal for reconciliation, prayerful community, and in the end, they are urging to return to the omophore of the Moscow Patriarch,” added Patriarch Filaret.

The Patriarch of the UOC-KP also said that he did not coordinate the question of writing a letter to Moscow with the authorities.

“We did not agree it with the authorities, because the church is separated from the state and we have freedom in making decisions,” he stressed. The hierarch also noted the high level of religious freedom in Ukraine.

As it was reported, yesterday at the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow a letter received from Patriarch Filaret was read out. Some Russian and Ukrainian mass media spread the news that Patriarch Filaret “turned with repentance” to the Russian Orthodox Church. This statement was disavowed in the UOC-KP, which specified that their leader had issued the appeal for dialogue. The Russian Orthodox Church also noted that the media distorted the information on the letter called to refer exclusively to the official resources of the Church. Instead, the press service of the Kyiv Patriarchate stated that the issue of dialogue between the UOC-KP and the Russian Orthodox Church would be considered at the next Synod.