Filaret says church schism caused by Metropolitan Epiphanius' violation of agreements
Honored Patriarch of Kyiv and All Russia-Ukraine Filaret has said the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epiphanius broke promises made as part of the Unification Council on December 15, 2018. He said this has confused grants of authority, adding that the situation can be rectified.
"In order to rectify the situation, and it can be corrected, we must fulfill the agreements that were reached before the council in the presence of President Petro Poroshenko and with the bishops. This means that the primate is responsible for the external representation of the OCU, and the patriarch is responsible for internal church life in Ukraine, but in cooperation with the primate. The primate does nothing inside the church without the consent of the patriarch. The Patriarch presides at meetings of the Holy Synod and at the OCU meetings for the sake of unity, its growth and approval," Filaret said to parishioners. His comments were published by the press center of the Ukrainian Orthorodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate.
Filaret said an agreement was reached before the Unification Council that Metropolitan Epiphanius, who was nominated by Filaret himself, would head the OCU, but the Patriarch would continue to lead the Church in Ukraine. The Primate will represent the Church in the Orthodox world, "because the OCU receives the status of a metropolitan," and it will also assist the patriarch in the management of the Church. However, the Patriarch remains in charge of the Patriarchate.
"This agreement has been violated and is not being carried out in practice. Therefore, division has arisen in the Church," Filaret said.