Photo from UNIAN

Filaret, a long-standing top cleric in Ukraine, who has achieved a title of the honorable patriarch of the newly-formed Orthodox Church of Ukraine, says the fact that Moscow has not been showering criticism upon Epifaniy, head of the OCU, is rather telling.

In an appeal to believers, delivered via Facebook, he complained about his actual removal from control levers in the church.

Filaret said there an attempt had been made to remove him from service and arrange his retirement at the very first meeting of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU).

Read alsoTomos of church autocephaly cannot be revoked – Poroshenko's adviser

"In his statements to the clergy and to journalists, he speaks of unity and cooperation, while doing the opposite. He threatens us with the revocation of tomos, but in fact, he is doing everything to make it happen. If this, God forbid, happens, he will cease to be a primate and become an ordinary bishop," Filaret said.

According to the patriarch, today all "anti-Ukrainian" forces have joined effort to destroy the Kyiv Patriarchate in Ukraine.

"There is a conviction of Ukrainian bishops not to support the existence of the Kyiv Patriarchate in Ukraine. At the next meeting of the Holy Synod or the Bishops' Council, they intend to arrange Patriarch Filaret's retirement, and thus to resolve the issue of the existence of the Kyiv Patriarchate in Ukraine," he said.

"Such a decision will be illegal and non-canonical, because the patriarch was elected not by the Holy Synod, not by the Bishops' Council, but by the Local Council for life. In addition, the charter of the OCU (UOC) adopted at Kyiv's St. Sophia Cathedral on December 15, 2018 provides for the life-long election of bishops to the bishop's department," the patriarch added.

Read alsoFailure of Filaret's "coup"? Only 4 bishops accept invitation: BBC

Filaret notes "Moscow is satisfied with the state of affairs in the UOC (OCU). What they could not achieve through various efforts, they are now achieving through the actions of the OCU head."

"We hear no criticism of Metropolitan Epifaniy. This means such leadership suits Moscow. The transition of parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church slowed down or even halted, while there were no transitions at all of the hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate after a tomos of autocephaly was received. Therefore, Moscow can rejoice," Filaret said.