Honorable Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) Filaret has set a date for an urgent local council, during which he wants to officially resume the activities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP).
"We are convening the local council, which will not approve the decision of the council of December 15, 2018. So, it is not mandatory for us. By this, we will show that the Kyiv Patriarchate did and will exist. We will hold the council on June 20," he said before the forum "For the Ukrainian Orthodox Church! For the Kyiv Patriarchate!" the BBC's Ukrainian Service reports.
As the Ukrainian TSN news service reported earlier, while meeting with Kyiv priests behind closed doors, Filaret said the termination of the activity of the Kyiv Patriarchate on December 15 was allegedly invalid, since a separate council of the UOC-KP had to be held before such a decision.
However, the OCU released a fragment of the video of the historic Unification Council, which took place on December 15, 2018, to refute the claim earlier voiced by Honorable Patriarch Filaret regarding the alleged continued operations of the "Kyiv Patriarchate." The video posted on the OCU's YouTube channel showed the moment of the liquidation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate. Patriarch Filaret put his signature in the document voted.
Despite this, Filaret still convenes the council and declares it will be valid even if not all bishops attend it.
According to the BBC, Metropolitan Joasaph Shibaev of Belgorod and Oboyan, as well as possibly one of the bishops from the former parishes of the UOC-KP in Russia may attend the council. A small group of the priests of the OCU's Kyiv diocese headed by Patriarch Filaret may also come. The OCU does not attach much importance to this meeting, since after June 25, the Kyiv parishes will be allowed to move from Filaret's submission to Metropolitan Epifaniy and the honorary patriarch will lose most of the influence.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Patriarch Filaret said on April 27 he was not satisfied with the OCU's status as a metropolis.
On May 14, Filaret invited the OCU's hierarchs to the traditional UOC-KP prayer celebration in honor of holy martyr Makariy at St. Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kyiv, using invitation blanks of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, in defiance of the newly-created OCU which received a tomos of autocephaly from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Only four of the 60 clerics invited eventually showed up.
Earlier, Filaret refused to recognize the UOC-KP as "liquidated" as a result of the creation of the OCU.
At the same time, the Ministry of Culture assures that the UOC-KP was dissolved on December 15, 2018, during the Unification Council.