Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate

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Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate
Українська Православна Церква Київський Патріархат
Ukrainian Orthodox Church emblem.png

St. Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kiev.jpg
FounderPatriarch Filaret (Denysenko)
Independence1992 (self-proclaimed)
RecognitionFull communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople restored in October, 2018 but was not canonically recognized by any church (Ecumenical Patriarchate included)
PrimatePatriarch Filaret (Denysenko)
HeadquartersKyiv, Ukraine
LanguageUkrainian, Church Slavonic
MembersClaimed to be 25% of religious population (by Razumkov Center, 2016)
WebsiteUkrainian Orthodox Church

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP; Ukrainian: Украї́нська Правосла́вна Це́рква – Ки́ївський Патріарха́т (УПЦ-КП), translit. Ukrayínsʹka Pravoslávna Tsérkva – Kýyivsʹkyy Patriarkhát (UPTs-KP)) was one of three major Orthodox churches in Ukraine, alongside the Ukrainian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (which is a part of the Russian Orthodox Church), and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC).[1][2] On 15 December 2018, bishops and delegates from the three branches of Orthodoxy in Ukraine unified in a council.[3] Metropolitan Epiphanius I (a former bishop of the Kiev Patriarchate) was elected as “Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine” and will become the primate of the unified Orthodox Church of Ukraine.[4]

The Kiev Patriarchate was not recognised by the other Eastern Orthodox churches and was regarded as a "schismatic group" by the Moscow Patriarchate.[5][6] In early September 2018, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew, indicated that the Church of Constantinople did not recognise the Moscow Patriarchate's claim to ecclesiastical jurisdiction over "the region of today's Metropolis of Kiev".[7] The Ecumenical Patriarch's decision of 11 October 2018[8] formally abrogated the consequences of perceived de facto jursdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church over the Kiev metropolis; it restored its controversial de jure jurisdiction over Ukraine. It was later clarified that the head of the UOC-KP, Filaret, was considered by the Ecumenical Patriarchate only as "the former metropolitan of Kiev",[9] and, on 2 November, that the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not recognize neither the UAOC nor the UOC-KP as legitimate and that their respective leaders were not recognized as primates of their churches.[10][11]

The St. Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kiev was the patriarchal cathedral of the UOC-KP. The primate of the church was Patriarch Filaret (Denysenko), who was enthroned in 1995. Filaret (Denysenko) was excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1997,[12][13] but the Synod and Sobor of the UOC-KP did not recognize this action.[14]

Following the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople of 9–11 October 2018 Filaret (Denysenko) was canonically reinstated and the decision was made to proceed with the granting of autocephaly to the a unified church in Ukraine.[15] As a consequence, the Kiev Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church were planning to merge with pro-independence bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate into an independent (autocephalous) Ukrainian Orthodox Church (now the Orthodox Church of Ukraine).[16][17][18][19] The move by the Ecumenical Patriarchate has so far not been recognised by any of the other autocephalous churches, and the Serbian[20][21][22] and Polish[23] Orthodox churches have explicitly refused to recognise Constantinople's unilateral reinstatement of the UOC-KP, and forbidden their clergy from concelebrating with them.


The Kiev Patriarchate deems itself to be a fully independent ecclesiastical body, i.e. an autocephalous church,[24] a successor church to the Metropolis of Kiev and all Rus',[24] which existed under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate until 1686, when it was incorporated into the Russian Orthodox Church (the Moscow Patriarchate).

In January 1992, after Ukraine had became an independent state during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Patriarch Filaret convened an assembly at the Kiev Pechersk Lavra that adopted a request of autocephaly for Ukrainians to the Moscow Patriarch.[25] The Moscow Patriarch did not comply.[25]

The current church organization was established in June 1992. Its first primate, albeit nominally, was an émigré Ukrainian religious figure, Mstyslav (Skrypnyk), the then primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. While Metropolitan Filaret (Denysenko), had from the start been the driving force of the Kiev Patriarchate, it was not until after the sudden death of Patriarch Volodymyr (Romaniuk) in July 1995 that Filaret was elected the Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine in October 1995. Filaret (Denysenko) had by then been defrocked by the Moscow Patriarchate in which he had been ordained and served as bishop since February 1962 until spring 1992. In February 1997, Filaret was excommunicated by the Moscow Patriarchate.

Following the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea 38 out of 46 of the church's parishes in Crimea ceased to exist; in three cases, churches were seized by the Russian authorities.[26]

The Kiev Patriarchate remains unrecognised by the Moscow Patriarchate, which views it as schismatic, as well as by other canonical Orthodox churches in the world. Nevertheless, since April 2018 the Ecumenical Patriarchate looked into the request of the Ukrainian Parliament to grant canonical status to the UOC-KP in Ukraine.[15][2] On 11 October 2018 the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced its intent to grant autocephaly to a single Ukrainian Orthodox Church; it also lifted the anathema against the leaders of the Kiev Patriarchate and UAOC.[19][17] On 16 October 2018 the Ecumenical Patriarchate recognised all clergy of the Kiev Patriarchate and UAOC as canonical.[16][27][28] On October 20, the Synod of UOC-KP approved a title for the head of the church. In a shorter version, it sounds like "Святійший (ім’я) Патріарх Київський і всієї Руси-України " ("His Holiness the Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus'-Ukraine)". However, for interchurch relations, the title "Блаженнійший Архієпископ (ім’я), Митрополит Київський і всієї Руси-України" ("His Beatitude Archbishop, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus'-Ukraine") was declared admissible.[29]

Dissolution and merger with UAOC into OCU[edit]

On 15 December 2018, the hierarchs of the UAOC decided to dissolve the UAOC, and the hierarchs of the UOC-KP decided to dissolve the UOC-KP. This was done because on the same day the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate, and some members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) were going to merge together to form the Orthodox Church of Ukraine after a unification council.[30]


The Kiev Patriarchate had 44% of the faithful as compared to the UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate 12.8%. So although the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine (UOC-MP) has twice as many parishes, the UOC-KP had 3 times as many faithful. The former has 38% of all Orthodox and 25% of the population as of 2016 while the Russian Orthodox have 23% and 15% respectively. The UOC-KP had 34 dioceses in Ukraine and abroad. The church had over 5,100 parishes in Ukraine. They have a vicariate in the United States which consisted of 15 parishes with its main cathedral of St. Andrew's in Bloomingdale, Illinois.[31] They also had 6 parishes in Australia and over 40 in Western Europe. The negative influence the Russian government allegedly has over the Moscow Patriarchate and claims it is using it as a "tool of influence over Ukraine” led to the April 2018 renewed drive of the recognition of an independent Ukrainian Orthodox church which Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko claimed would help "eliminate internal strife and conflicts within the state."[2][32]

UOC-KP adherents in Ukraine, excluding Crimea and breakaway parts of Donbass:

Date Proportion Ref
May–June 2016 33% [33]
June–July 2017 44% [34]
May–June 2018 36% [35]

Primates of the Church[edit]

Patriarch Filaret with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko , 21 October 2018

After being dismissed in 1992 by the Archhierarch Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian Metropolitan Filaret created the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (UOC–KP) under Patriarch Mstyslav of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC).

  • Patriarch Mstyslav (Stepan Ivanovych Skrypnyk), Patriarch of Kiev and all Rus’-Ukraine and primate of both the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) and Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (UOC–KP) (1991–1993)

After Patriarch Mstyslav died in 1993, the temporary union ended and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church separated. The primates of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church–Kiev Patriarchate continued to carry the title of patriarch.

On 20 October 2018, the UOC-KP changed the title of its primate to "His Holiness and Beatitude (name), Archbishop and Metropolitan of Kiev – Mother of the Rus Cities and of Galicia, Patriarch of All Rus-Ukraine, Holy Archimandrite of the Holy Assumption Kiev-Pechersk and Pochaev Lavras"[36][37][38] The abridged form is "His Holiness (name), Patriarch of Kiev and All Russia-Ukraine" and the form for interchurch relations "Archbishop, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus'-Ukraine".[38][36][38][39][40][41][42] The fact the full title and the version for interchurch relations mention the titles of "archbishop" and "metropolitan" and not the title of "patriarch", but that the abridged form mentioned only the title of "patriarch" has been confusing for some.[38][37] Metropolitan Hilarion commented that this bestowal of title was a "farce".[6][43]



Exarchates and Vicariates[edit]

  • Exarchate in Greece
  • Ukrainian Orthodox Vicarate of the UOC-KP in the USA and Canada[50]
  • Vicariate in Australia
  • European Exarchate
  • Russian Exarchate

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ukraine". The CIA World Factbook. According to the CIA World Factbook, 19% of the Ukrainian population associated themselves with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (cf. Orthodox (no particular jurisdiction) 16%, Ukrainian Orthodox – Moscow Patriarchate 9%, Ukrainian Greek Catholic 6%, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox 1.7%).
  2. ^ a b c COYLE, JAMES J. (April 24, 2018). "Ukraine May Be Getting Its Own Church, but Not as Fast as Poroshenko Thinks". Atlantic Council. According to the Razumkov Center, among the 27.8 million Ukrainian members of Orthodox churches, allegiance to the Kiev Patriarchate has grown from 12% in 2000 to 25% in 2016. Much of the growth has come from believers who previously did not associate with either patriarchate.
  3. ^ "Procedure of election of new Primate of Ukrainian Church announced".
  4. ^ "Metropolitan Epifaniy (Dumenko) becomes Primate of One Local Orthodox Church of Ukraine".
  5. ^ "РПЦ: вмешательство Константинополя в ситуацию на Украине может породить новые расколы". ТАСС (Interview with Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev)). 1 September 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-02.
  6. ^ a b "Metropolitan Hilarion: Filaret Denisenko was and remains a schismatic". 22 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  7. ^ Synaxis of Hierarchs of The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
  8. ^ "Announcement (11/10/2018). - Announcements - The Ecumenical Patriarchate". 11 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  9. ^ "Phanar considers Filaret an ordinary bishop without an episcopal see". 14 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  10. ^ "Константинополь: "Надеемся, Москва обратится к разуму". Подробности беседы". BBC News Русская служба. 2018-11-02. Retrieved 2018-11-03.
  11. ^ Cazabonne, Emma (6 November 2018). "BBC interview with Archbishop Job of Telmessos on the Ukrainian question". Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  12. ^ "Акт об отлучении от Церкви монаха Филарета (Денисенко)". Archived from the original on 29 August 2014. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  13. ^ "Official History of the Defrocking and Anathematization of Philaret Denisenko. Documents of the June 1992, 1994, and 1997 Bishops' Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church". OrthoChristian.Com. 17 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  14. ^ Патріархії, Прес-центр Київської. "X. THE SO-CALLED "ANATHEMATIZATION" OF PATRIARCH FILARET (part 2). - Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP)". Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  15. ^ a b Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (11 October 2018). "Announcement (11/10/2018)". Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Oleg Petrasiuk (14 October 2018). "Ukraine thanks Ecumenical Patriarchate for supporting independence of Ukrainian Orthodox Church". KyivPost. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "The Ecumenical Synod lifted the anathema on the leaders of the UOC-KP and the UAOC | The Koz Times". Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  18. ^ "Announcement of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople". Ecumenical Patriarchate. 11 October 2018. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  19. ^ a b "Ecumenical Patriarchate To Recognize Ukrainian Church's Autocephaly Despite Moscow's Disagreement | Greek Reporter Europe". Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  20. ^ "Serbian Church refuses to recognize "reinstatement" of Filaret and Makariy". 12 November 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  21. ^ "Став Српске Православне Цркве о црквеној кризи у Украјини после најновијих одлука Цариградске Патријаршије | Српскa Православнa Црквa [Званични сајт]". (in Serbian). 12 November 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  22. ^ "Serbian Orthodox Church Bishops' Council expresses its position on situation resulting from Patriarchate of Constantinople's actions in Ukraine | The Russian Orthodox Church". 13 November 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  23. ^ "Komunikat
    Kancelarii Św. Soboru Biskupów
    Polskiego Autokefalicznego Kościoła Prawosławnego
    15 listopada 2018 roku"
    . (in Polish). 16 November 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  25. ^ a b After autocephaly, The Ukrainian Week (26 October 2018)
    (in Ukrainian) The Ecumenical Patriarchate unveiled documents in support of Ukrainian autocephaly, (14 September 2018)
  26. ^ Russia seeks to crush Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Crimea for helping resist Russification, UNIAN (11 October 2018)
  27. ^ "Constantinople recognized all clergy of KP and UAOC as canonical—Patriarchal Exarch". OrthoChristian.Com. Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  28. ^ "Константинополь признал каноничным весь клир УПЦ КП и УАПЦ, – экзарх Фанара". Retrieved 2018-10-16.
  29. ^ "Журнали засідання Священного Синоду 20 жовтня 2018 р." Українська Православна Церква Київський Патріархат (УПЦ КП). Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  30. ^ "Киевский патриархат и УАПЦ самораспустились перед Собором". РБК-Украина (in Russian). 15 December 2018. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  31. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  32. ^ Daniel, McLaughlin (24 April 2018). "Ukraine seeks church independence to bolster stand against Russia". Irish Times.
    "Ukrainian Lawmakers Back President's Move To Obtain Autocephalous Status For Orthodox Church". Radio Free Europe. 19 April 2018.
  33. ^ "Public Opinion Survey: Residents of Ukraine May 28–June 14, 2016" (PDF). International Republican Institute. 8 July 2016. p. 62.
  34. ^ "Public Opinion Survey of Residents of Ukraine June 9 – July 7, 2017" (PDF). 22 August 2017. p. 77. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 August 2017.
  35. ^ "Public Opinion Survey: Residents of Ukraine May 26 – June 10, 2018" (PDF). International Republican Institute. 2018. p. 85.
  36. ^ a b "ЖУРНАЛ №17 ЗАСІДАННЯ СВЯЩЕННОГО СИНОДУ УКРАЇНСЬКОЇ ПРАВОСЛАВНОЇ ЦЕРКВИ КИЇВСЬКОГО ПАТРІАРХАТУ". Українська Православна Церква Київський Патріархат (УПЦ КП). Retrieved 2018-10-27.
  37. ^ a b "UOC KP Spokesman: Our Primate is archbishop, metropolitan, and patriarch". 27 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  38. ^ a b c d ""Metropolitan" and "patriarch" rolled into one: KP changes its head's title". 20 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  39. ^ Wozniak, Hanna (26 October 2018). "Is the Ecumenical Patriarchate Fine with St. Andrew's Church in Kyiv?". Retrieved 2018-10-27. On October 20, the UOC KP Synod changed the title of its head [Filaret]. Now the Church’s Primate will also be called the Archimandrite of Kyiv-Pechersk and Pochaiv Lavras, which seemingly reflects Filaret’s desire to get them at his disposal. At the moment both Lavras belong to the UOC MP [the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)], so it looks like the “Archimandrite” doesn’t want to comply with the fifth point of the Constantinople Synod decree in which the Patriarchate appeals to all sides involved that they avoid appropriation of Churches, Monasteries and other properties.
  40. ^ Укрінформ (2018-10-26), Українська церква на шляху утвердження автокефалії, retrieved 2018-10-29 (Press conference)
  41. ^ "UOC KP Spokesman: Our Primate is archbishop, metropolitan, and patriarch". 27 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-29. Filaret is an "archbishop", a "metropolitan", and a "patriarch". This was announced on October 26 by Spokesman of the UOC KP Eustratiy Zoria during the press conference of Ukrinform "Ukrainian Church on the road to establishing autocephaly".
  42. ^ "Zoria explains why Filaret's title includes references to UOC Lavras". 22 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-24.
  43. ^ "Metropolitan Hilarion: Awarding new titles to Filaret is farce". 23 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  44. ^ "Resources- Links". Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  45. ^ "". Тернопільська єпархія Української Православної Церкви Київського патріархату (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  46. ^ "". Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  47. ^ "Культурно-просветительский центр "Cherkas". Христианство в искусстве: иконы, фрески, мозаики". Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  48. ^ "ГОЛОВНА — Чернігівські єпархіальні відомості". Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  49. ^ "". Ukrainische Orthodoxe Kirche (in German). Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  50. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2018-12-06.

External links[edit]