Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate
|Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate (religious sect)|
|Founder||Patriarch Filaret (Denysenko)|
|Independence||Established in 1992|
|Recognition||Unrecognized by other canonical Orthodox churches|
|Primate||Patriarch Filaret (Denysenko)|
|Possessions||Western Europe, United States|
|Language||Ukrainian, Church Slavonic|
|Website||Ukrainian Orthodox Church|
Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate (Ukrainian: Українська Православна Церква Київського Патрiархату, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate, UOC-KP) is one of the three major Orthodox churches in Ukraine, alongside the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. The church is unrecognized by other canonical Eastern Orthodox churches.
The UOC-KP's Mother Church is in the St. Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. The head of the church is Patriarch Filaret (Denysenko), who was enthroned in 1995. Patriarch Filaret was excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1997, but the Synod and Sobor of the UOC-KP do not recognize this action.
The church originated in 1992 as a result of a schism between the Moscow Patriarchate and its former locum tenens, Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine Filaret, when Filaret chose to convert his former see (of which he was head for more than two decades) into a Ukrainian autocephalous church, initially within the legal framework of the Russian Orthodox Church. The majority of the Ukrainian bishops refused to support him, and forced him to resign his position. Undeterred, Filaret, with support of the President of Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk, initiated a merger with the canonically-unrecognised Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. With the support of nationalist groups such as UNA-UNSO, the church fought for control over property. In response, almost all Ukrainian bishops called a sobor in Kharkiv, where they refused to follow Filaret, and ruled to defrock and anathemise him. However the union between the Western Ukrainian and diaspora clergy of the former UAOC and the now defrocked Russian Orthodox clergy who followed Filaret, became very fragile. After the death of Patriarch Mstyslav in the summer of 1993, the union reached a breaking point causing the UAOC to terminate the union. After a brief leadership of Patriarch Volodomyr (Romaniuk), Filaret assumed the Patriarchal throne in autumn 1995.
Orthodoxy (and Christianity in general) in Ukraine date to the Christianization of Kievan Rus by Vladimir the Great as a Metropolitanate of the Patriarch of Constantinople. The sacking of Kiev itself in December 1240 during the Mongol Invasion led to the ultimate collapse of the Rus' state. For many of its residents, the brutality of Mongol attacks sealed the fate of many choosing to find safe haven in the North East. In 1299, the Kievan Metropolitan Chair was moved to Vladimir by Metropolitan Maximus, keeping the title of Kiev. As Vladimir-Suzdal, and later the Grand Duchy of Moscow continued to grow unhindered, the Orthodox religious link between them and Kiev remained strong. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 allowed the once daughter church of North East to become autocephalous with Kiev remaining part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. From that moment on, the Churches of Ukraine and Russia went their own separate ways. The latter became central in the growing Russian Tsardom, attaining patriarchal status in 1589, whilst the former became subject to repression and Polonization efforts, particularly after the Union of Brest in 1596. Eventually the persecution of Orthodox Ukrainians led to a massive rebellion under Bohdan Khmelnytsky and united the Ukrainian Hetmanate with the Russian Tsardom, and in 1686, the Kievan Metropolia came under the Moscow Patriarchate. Ukrainian clergy, for their Greek training, held key roles in the Russian Orthodox Church until the end of the 18th century. Examples include Epifany Slavinetsky, one of the architects of the Patriarch Nikon's church reforms in the 17th century. Epifany Slavinetsky, locum tenens after Patriarch Adrian's death in 1700 and Metropolitan of Moscow, and his successor Feofan Prokopovich, a reformer of Russian Orthodox Church in early 18th century.
Orthodoxy in Ukraine greatly expanded in the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly as the boundaries of Russian Empire incorporated the Crimean Khanate, Bessarabia and Right-Bank Ukraine. Only the Western province of Galicia remained outside the Russian Orthodox Church (though it was claimed as canonical territory, as it was in the official Kievan Metropolitan title of Kiev and Galich). During the 20th century, Orthodoxy was brutally persecuted by the Soviet authorities in Soviet Ukraine, and, to lesser extent, by the authorities of the Second Polish Republic in Volhynia.
What historians now see as the reason for the following events was the decision of the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine Filaret to achieve total autocephaly (independence) of his metropolitan see with or without the approval of the mother church as required by canon law. These events followed Filaret's own unsuccessful attempt to gain a seat in the Moscow Patriarch for himself (1990) and Ukrainian independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in August, 1991. In November 1991, Metropolitan Filaret requested that the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church grant the Ukrainian Orthodox Church autocephalous status. The skeptical hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church called for a full Synodical council (Sobor) where this issue would have been discussed at length. Filaret, using support from old friendship ties with the then newly elected President of Ukraine (Leonid Kravchuk), convinced him that a new independent government should have its own independent church. Although the UAOC lacked any significant following outside Galicia, Filaret was able to organise a covert communion with the UAOC in case the Moscow Patriarchate refused.
At the synod in March–April 1992, however, most of the clergy of the UOC who initially supported Filaret, openly criticised this move, and put most of the other bishops against him. Questions regarding his unpopular disregard of monastic vows (having a common-law wife) as well as the allegations of improper ecclesiastical financial dealings made the council vote for Filaret's retirement from his position which he confirmed by a sworn oath.
Upon returning to Kyiv, Filaret carried out his reserve option claiming that the retirement swore was given under pressure and that he is not resigning. The Ukrainian president Leonid Kravchuk gave Filaret his support as did the nationalist Paramilitaries, in retaining his rank. In a crisis moment the Hierarchical Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church agreed to another synod which met in May 1992. The council was conducted in the eastern city of Kharkiv where the majority of the bishops voted to suspend Filaret from his clerical functioning. Simultaneously they elected a new leader Metropolitan Volodymyr (Viktor Sabodan), a native of the Khmelnytskyi Oblast and a former Patriarchal Exarch to Western Europe.
With only three bishops remaining at his support Filaret initiated the unification with the UAOC, and in June 1992 created a new Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP) with 94-year-old Patriarch Mstyslav as the leader. While chosen as his assistant, Filaret was de facto ruling the Church. A few of the Autocephalous bishops and clergy who opposed this situation refused to join the new Church following the death of Mstyslav a year later. The church was once again ripped apart by a schism and most of the UAOC parishes were regained when the churches re-separated in July 1993.
Since his election as a Patriarch in 1995, Filaret remains very active in both church and state politics. His goal is to gather around his Church all groups with a national orientation and all church organizations which did not have canonical recognition. He expressed repentance for his past support of prosecution of Ukrainian national churches, the Autocephalous and the Greek Catholic. He is leading the drive for his church to become a single Ukrainian national church. His attempts to gain canonical recognition for his church remain unsuccessful to this day and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church canonically linked to the Moscow Patriarchate remains the only body whose canonical standing is universally recognized by the Eastern Orthodox communion.
Under Filaret's rule, UOC-KP has taken great efforts to establish its parishes around the world. However, such activity met strong criticism and resistance on the part of canonical Eastern Orthodox Churches on corresponding territories. For example, in 1996, so-called "Exarchate in Greece - Orthodox Church of Ukraine of Kiev Patriarchate" was established. Defrocked clergyman of the Greek Orthodox Church (GOC) Timothy Kutalyanos was ordained as a bishop and appointed to be "Patriarchal Exarch". Later this step was said to be done in order to "represent the interests of the Kievan Patriarchate in Greece and build ties with local churches of Hellenic tradition." However, when the newly-ordained bishop was invited to the Independence Day reception in the Ukrainian embassy along with canonical clergy, the latter have had to leave the event and then send an official letter expressing their displeasure about it. When "bishop" Timothy died and was replaced with "Archimandrite" Chrysostomos (Bakomitros), Filaret sent an official letter to the Primate of the GOC in which asked for the "fullest cooperation" to the new "Exarch". The Archdiocese of Athens took this letter as an expression of impudence and mockery. Chrysostomos (Bakomitros) was later elevated to "Bishop of Kherson, Exarch of the Kievan Patriarchate in Greece". According to UOC-KP official websie, he died on November 4, 2016.
UOC-KP activity was also focused on attracting Ukrainians with ethnic-oriented rhetoric. For example, in 1998, four parishes of UOC of USA moved under Filaret's omophorion without canonical release from UOC of USA (a jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate). The Permanent Conference of Ukrainian Orthodox Bishops Beyond the Borders of Ukraine expressed its protest against the divisive activity of UOC-KP in diaspora with Open Letter, from 14 June 1998. In its turn, the Hierarchical Sobor of UOC-KP decided on 14 May 1999:
[...] 11. To appeal for peace and the spiritual unity of the Ukrainian community, which in foreign countries during the last decades struggled for Ukrainian statehood and autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church, so therefore the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyivan Patriarchate does not have the moral right to leave without spiritual care those Ukrainian Orthodox parishes in the diaspora which, from the time of His Holiness Patriarch of Kyiv and All Ukraine Mstyslav of blessed memory, remain under the omofor of the Kyivan Patriarch and further do not desire to change their canonical position. We categorically reject the accusations addressed to our Church as supporting division in the Ukrainian diaspora, expressed, in particular, in the "Open Letter" of the Permanent Conference of Ukrainian Orthodox Bishops Beyond the Borders of Ukraine, from 14 June 1998.[...]
Then, while addressing UOC of USA in November 1999, "patriarch" Filaret continued as follows: "The question is not about uniting with the Kyiv Patriarchate, you already are part of the Kyiv Patriarchate. The question is that you simply need to confirm this now that the bishops in Bound Brook are trying to divide us, [to confirm] that you are part of the Kyiv Patriarchate - and not 'go over' to something to which you have always belonged."
UOC-KP also initiated a split in the St. Michael's parish (Adelaide, South Australia). The people who wanted to remain with the UOC-EP formed a new parish named St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Another community was accepted under the umbrella of the "Exarchate in Greece - Orthodox Church of Ukraine of Kiev Patriarchate" in Sydney. It is led by the defrocked deacon of Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Fr. Savas Pizanias who was received by RTOC and then moved from it to the jurisdiction of Chrysotomos Bakomitros, then Exarch of UOC-KP in Greece.
In additon to ex-clergymen of GOC, UOC-KP received at least two former clerics of the Georgian Orthodox Church: bishop Christopher (Tsamalaidze) and archpriest Basil (Kobakhidze). On 21 January 2006, bishop Christopher (Tsamalaidze) and archpriest Basil (Kobakhidze) participated in celebrations of the national Ukrainian holiday – the Day of Unity and concelebrated with "patriarch" Filaret. At the same time, one Nikolai (Inasaridze), who had been ordained by Filaret to priesthood in October 2005, was appointed rector of the newly established "Georgian" parish of the Nativity of Christ. And Ukrainian media immediately started to spread UOC-KP leader's statements about the recognition of Kievan Patriarchate by the Georgian Orthodox Church and His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II.
In its turn, the Patriarchate of Georgia denied incongruous rumors with an official letter on 23 January 2006:
"On January 21, the delegation for participation in the celebrations of the national Ukrainian holiday – the Day of Unity visited Kiev. The Georgian Orthodox Church entirely shares the joy of fraternal Ukrainian people and wishes it and its government further success.
The Georgian mass media reported that Bishop Christopher (Tsamalaidze) and Archpriest Vasily Kobakhidze also arrived in Kiev to participate in celebrations and act on behalf of the Georgian Orthodox Church. In this connection, the Patriarchate of Georgia states that in compliance with the decision of the Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Bishop Christopher (Tsamalaidze) and Archpriest Vasily Kobakhidze are unfrocked for gross and repeated violations. Their actions are unauthorized and non-canonical.
The Patriarchate of Georgia informs the Georgian community that the Georgian parish, opened in Kiev, belongs to the jurisdiction of the ‘Kievan Patriarchate’ that no one of the Autonomous Orthodox Church recognizes. It bears no relation to the Georgian Orthodox Church .As far as newly ordained ‘priest’ of this church Nikolai Inasaridze is concerned, the services conducted by him are also non-canonical"
UOC-KP also have Diocese of Falesti and Eastern Moldova led by former ROC bishop Filaret (Pancu), "Orthodox Diocese of Paris and All France" led by Metropolitan Michael (Philippe) Laroche and Deanery of Germany led by the twice-married archpriest Paul Echinger, both the latter connected with Evloghios Hessler's old-calendarist "Autonomous Orthodox Metropolia of Milan, Western Europe, and the Americas" (also known as the Holy Synod of Milan). One of the clerics under Metropolitan Laroche's omophorion is "mitered archpriest" Petru Parvu, who had been adopted from “The Orthodox Patriarchate of Nations” led by “the patriarch of Europe” Nicholas I. Priests Volodymyr (Chayka) and Petro Bokanov are among the clergy of the UOC-KP Deanery in Germany who left archbishop of Gothia and Kafa Petro of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) and joined Paul Echinger (then an archpriest of the Holy Synod of Milan) in 1998.
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Patriarchs of Kiev and All Rus'-Ukraine
- Holy Synod of UOC-KP
- The Synod consists of the Patriarch and its six permanent members, the representatives of Galicia, Volyn, Kiev, Southern Ukraine, Eastern Ukraine, and the Russian bordering region of Bilhorod (locally as Belgorod). The Synod also has three temporary members that are represented by Eparchial Archbishops. The permanent members are elected by the Archbishop Assembly to which the Synod is responsible. The three temporary members are called upon the Patriarch and the Synod.
- Archbishop Assembly (Sobor)
- The assembly takes place at least once in two years and is initiated by the Patriarch and the Holy Synod. The members of assembly consists of all archbishops as well as the members of the Supreme Church Council. An extraordinary session of the assembly can be called upon by either the Patriarch or the 1/3 of all archbishops of UOC-KP. To selected sessions of the assembly may be invited some guests without any voting rights, however. All the declarations obtain their power upon the signatures of the head of assembly, its presidium, and secretary. The official website contains brief overviews of all the twelve assemblies that took place.
- The Local Assembly (Pomisny Sobor)
- The highest institution of the Church administration. All of the Church legislative, executive, and legal powers belong to that assembly. The assembly is much bigger than its Archbishop's counterpart and involves various religious representatives as well as some secular.
In 2000, 21.8%, out of 41.2% who clearly defined their church allegiance, adhered to the UOC-KP. According to a poll conducted by the Razumkov Centre in 2006, 14.9% of the Ukrainian population declared that they belonged to the UOC-KP. In 2013, 18.3% of Ukrainians adhered to UOC-KP, growing to 22.4% in April 2014. The Kyiv Post reported that the Moscow Patriarchate's decisions during the 2014–15 Russian military intervention in Ukraine had led some Ukrainians to join the UOC-KP. In a May–June 2016 survey (excluding Crimea and militant-controlled parts of Donbas), 33% of Ukrainians belonged to the UOC-KP.
- List of Orthodox Churches
- The Macedonian Orthodox and Montenegrin Orthodox Churches, which face a similar kind of non-recognition;
- Orthodox Church in Italy, which is in full communion with Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchy).
- Bulgarian Alternative Synod, which is in full communion with Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchy).
- Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate
- "Ukraine". The CIA World Factbook. According to the CIA World Factbook, 19% of the Ukrainian population associated themselves with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate (cf. Orthodox (no particular jurisdiction) 16%, Ukrainian Orthodox – Moscow Patriarchate 9%, Ukrainian Greek Catholic 6%, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox 1.7%).
- "Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate" Українська Православна Церква Київського Патріархату. Religious Information Service of Ukraine (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 3 November 2010. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
- "Patriarch of Kyiv and all Rus-Ukraine Filaret". Religious Information Service of Ukraine. Archived from the original on 16 September 2003. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
- "Diplomatica scandal, GOC's reaction to the letter". ChristianForums.com.
- "Obituary to Chrysostomos (Bakomitros) containing a link to UOC-KP website". Facebook.
- "Resolutions of the Hierarchical Sobor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyivan Patriarchate". BRAMA. BRAMA, Inc. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
- "UOC-U.S.A. responds to patriarch's visit". The Ukrainian Weekly. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
- "Re Parish of St Michael of the Ukrainian Autocephalic Orthodox Church in Adelaide Inc  SASC 69". Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
- "Savvas Pizanias, Archdiocesan Announcement". Kogarah Greek Orthodox Church - The Resurrection of Christ, Our Lady of the Myrtles and St Elesa.
- "RTOC Receives Greek Clergy; Declares It Must "Restore True Orthodoxy" To Greece After GOC-K / SiR Union". Notes From The Underground.
- "Fr Savas Pizanias - Canonical Priest Verification". St Savvas of Kalymnos Sydney.
- "У Російській церкві першим є президент, а не патріарх". Club-tourist. Retrieved 2016-11-24.
- "В Киеве в храме Рождества Христова открыт первый грузинский приход - Интересный Киев". Интересный Киев (in Russian). 2006-02-21. Retrieved 2016-11-24.
- "Грузинская Патриархия опровергла информацию о признании «Киевского Патриархата» и разоблачила своих раскольников" [The Patriarchate of Georgia denied rumors about recognition of "Kievan patriatchate" and exposed its ows schismatics]. Press service of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (in Russian). Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church. 2006-01-25. Retrieved 2016-11-24.
- "Entstehung des Dekanats - Ukrainische Orthodoxe Kirche Patriarchat Kiew in Köln" [Origin of the Deanery - Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kievan Patriarchate in Cologne] (in Deutsch). Ukrainische Orthodoxe Kirche Patriarchat Kiew in Köln. Retrieved 2016-11-24.
- Shangina, Lyudmila (23 September 2000). "НАРОД ЗОЛОТОЇ СЕРЕДИНИ-2: ЯК МИ ВІРИМО" [People of the Golden Center-2: How We Believe]. Dzerkalo Tyzhnya (in Ukrainian). Razumkov Centre. Retrieved 2008-01-13.
- "Віруючим якої церкви, конфесії Ви себе вважаєте?" [What religious group do you belong to?] (in Ukrainian). Razumkov Centre. 2006.
- Trach, Nataliya (23 January 2015). "Ukrainians shun Moscow Patriarchate as Russia's war intensifies in Donbas". Kyiv Post.
- "Public Opinion Survey: Residents of Ukraine May 28–June 14, 2016" (PDF). International Republican Institute. 8 July 2016. p. 62.
- "Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate". www.cerkva.info (in Ukrainian, Russian, and English).
- "The Canons of the Eastern Orthodox Church".