Honorary Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Filaret, appealed to President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe over the liquidation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate.
The cleric claims UOC-KP parishioners "are actually forced to shift to another denomination, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine", Radio Liberty's Ukrainian office.
"I am asking you to help through the force of international authority prevent the illegal liquidation of our church by the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine," Filaret said in an appeal to the OSCE Project Coordinator in Ukraine, Henrik Villadsen, dated July 30.
In an appeal to the president, the patriarch claimed an ongoing "raider attack on the property of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate," allegedly led by the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Epifaniy.
In a harsh-worded appeal, Filaret complained about the process of liquidation of the UOC-KP and asked the president for "direct intervention" to "end this lawlessness."
As UNIAN reported earlier, Filaret, who after the creation of the OCU was named its honorary patriarch, announced his intention to maintain the UOC-KP, which was one of the founders of the united local Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
On June 20, despite the OCU warnings not to do so, Filaret convened a meeting of the clergy and laity to announce "restoration" of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate and its rejection of the tomos of autocephaly granted to the OCU by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople.
The OCU stressed the fact that, by the decision of the local council of the UOC-KP of Dec 15, 2018, signed ahead of the Unification Council, the UOC-KP ceased to exist as a separate religious association by uniting with and joining the newly-formed united local Orthodox Church Of Ukraine. Therefore, holding any events on behalf of the UOC-KP, in particular, under the names of its statutory bodies (Holy Synod, Bishops' and Local Councils), is illegal.
On June 24, the Synod of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine deprived Filaret of the right to govern the Kyiv diocese and transferred management rights to Metropolitan Epifaniy.
On July 30, Honorary Patriarch Filaret appealed to Minister of Justice of Ukraine Pavlo Petrenko to prolong registration of the UOC-KP. On the same day, the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine in a statement confirmed that the UOC-KP had already been liquidated.
On July 31, Honorary Patriarch Filaret announced that he filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Culture over the liquidation of the UOC-KP.