On Tuesday, St Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kyiv is hosting a prayer celebration in honor of the hieromartyr Makariy. The event, traditional for the UOC-KP Patriarchate, was in the center of the scandal amid reports on Filaret's intentions to resume operations of the UOC-KP despite the creation of a new Orthodox Church of Ukraine greenlighted by Constantinople.
Invitation to the celebration were printed on the lanks of the Kyiv Patriarchate and signed by "Patriarch of Kyiv and All Russia-Ukraine" Filaret, the BBC reports.
Moreover, the invitations said that the holiday was celebrated by the UOC-KP, while not a word was mentioned about the OCU.
Head of the OCU Epifaniy did not immediately receive his invitation. Filaret sent it him only after information about the event appeared in the media.
With the creation of the OCU, a spat emerged between Filaret and Epifaniy over the influence on the church since honorable patriarch Filaret is not content with his purely symbolic status and is trying to get a decisive influence on the church.
Some considered the planned celebration as a kind of "parade of forces," where Filaret had to check how many hierarchs would support his idea of restoration of the UOC-KP.
And this is supposedly one of the stages on the way to the revolutionary events in the church – the Council, on which Filaret, supposedly, seeks to formally restore the Kyiv Patriarchate, to restore the statute and the synod of the UOC-KP, with him governing the church as a patriarch.
In this scenario, Epifaniy would supposedly be only given the role of church representation abroad.
According to BBC sources, the Ecumenical Patriarchate unequivocally supports Epifaniy and even does not rule out the abolition of tomos in the event of the implementation of a scenario for the restoration of the Kyiv Patriarchate.
On the eve of the celebration, a number of eparchies of the OCU made open statements in support of Epifaniy.
At the same time, the number of supporters of such a scenario, obviously, was insignificant.
In response to the invitation to the celebration, only four bishops of over 60 arrived: Archbishop of Simferopol and Crimea Klement, as well as a group of hierarchs from the former parishes of the UOC-KP in Russia, Metropolitan of Belgorod and Oboyansk Ioasaf, his vicar Peter, and Bishop Adrian.
According to BBC sources, Klement came out of his respect for Filaret.
One of the most influential hierarchs of the OCU, Metropolitan Mykhail, who at the unifying council was Epifaniy's main rival for chairmanship in the new church, did not arrive. Earlier, sources named him one of Filaret's possible allies.
Metropolitan Epifaniy did not arrive at the Cathedral either. On this day, he has a scheduled visit to Mariupol.
During the liturgy, Filaret mentioned in the diptych of the primates of the local Orthodox churches Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epifaniy. This means Filaret recognizes Epifaniy's reign.