Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP; Ukrainian: Украї́нська Правосла́вна Це́рква – Ки́ївський Патріарха́т (УПЦ-КП), romanized: Ukrayínsʹka Pravoslávna Tsérkva – Kýyivsʹkyy Patriarkhát (UPTs-KP)) is an Orthodox church in Ukraine which declared its revival following its liquidation by the Honorary Partriarch Filaret, who decided to go into schism with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The legal status of the church is debateable. On 15 December 2018, bishops and delegates from three major branches of Orthodoxy in Ukraine (the UOC-KP, the UAOC and some members of the UOC-MP) unified at a council. During the council, Metropolitan Epiphanius I (a former bishop of the Kiev Patriarchate) was elected Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine and became the primate of the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
|Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate|
|Language||Ukrainian, Church Slavonic|
|Founder||Metropolitan Filaret (Denysenko)|
|Independence||1992 de facto, 2019 schism|
|Separated from||Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) (1992), |
Orthodox Church of Ukraine (2019)
|Merged into||Orthodox Church of Ukraine (2019)|
|Defunct||15 December 2018 to 20 June 2019|
|Members||Reported as 25 percent of religious Ukrainian population by Razumkov Centre (2016); less than 100,000 (2019)|
|Official website||Ukrainian Orthodox Church|
The patriarchate was not recognised by the other Eastern Orthodox churches, and was considered a "schismatic group" by the Moscow Patriarchate. The Ecumenical Patriarchate decided on 11 October to reintegrate the UOC-KP into the Orthodox Church, but did not recognise it as a patriarchy.
St Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kiev is the UOC-KP's patriarchal cathedral. The church's primate was Patriarch Filaret (Denysenko), who was enthroned in 1995. Filaret was excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1997, an action not recognized by the UOC-KP synod.
After the 9–11 October 2018 synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Filaret was reinstated and it was decided to grant autocephaly to a unified church in Ukraine. The Kiev Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church planned to merge with pro-independence Moscow Patriarchate bishops into an independent (autocephalous) Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The ecumenical patriarchate's move has only been recognized by the Churches of Greece and Alexandria, and not by the other autocephalous churches; the Serbian and Polish Orthodox churches have refused to recognise Constantinople's reinstatement of the UOC-KP, and forbidden their clergy from celebrating with them. On 20 June 2019, a small number of Pro-Filaret UOC (former UOC-KP) members—including Filaret—left the OCU after a local UOC-KP council.
The Kiev Patriarchate considers itself an independent church, a successor of the Metropolis of Kiev and all Rus' which existed under the Ecumenical Patriarchate until 1686 (when it was incorporated into the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church). In January 1992, after Ukraine became an independent state during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Metropolitan of Kiev Filaret convened an assembly at the Kiev Pechersk Lavra which submitted a request for Ukrainian autocephaly to the Moscow Patriarch. The Moscow Patriarch did not comply.
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|Eastern Orthodox Church|
The church was organised in June 1992. Its nominal primate was the émigré Mstyslav (Skrypnyk), primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Mstyslav never approved the union of the UAOC and UOC-KP. Although Metropolitan Filaret had been the driving force of the Kiev Patriarchate, it was not until the sudden death of Patriarch Volodymyr (Romaniuk) in July 1995 that he was elected the Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine in October of that year. Filaret had been defrocked by the Moscow Patriarchate (in which he had been ordained and served as bishop from February 1962 to spring 1992), and was excommunicated in February 1997.
After the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, 38 of the church's 46 parishes in Crimea ceased to exist; three churches were seized by Russian authorities. The Kiev Patriarchate is unrecognised by the Moscow Patriarchate (which considers it schismatic) and other Orthodox churches. In April 2018, the Ecumenical Patriarchate began to consider a request by the Ukrainian Parliament to grant canonical status to the UOC-KP in Ukraine.
11 October 2018 Ecumenical Patriarchate decision
In early September 2018, 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". On 11 October 2018, after a synod, the Patriarchate of Constantinople renewed an earlier decision to move towards granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The synod also withdrew Constantinople's 332-year qualified acceptance of the Russian Orthodox Church's jurisdiction over the Ukrainian Church, contained in a 1686 letter. It lifted the excommunications of Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP) and Metropolitan Makariy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC); both bishops were "canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank, and their faithful ... restored to communion with the Church."
The following day, the UOC-KP declared that the decision restored the canonical recognition of the episcopate and clergy of the Kiev Patriarchate. It was later clarified that the Ecumenical Patriarchate considered Filaret "the former metropolitan of Kiev" and Makariy "the former Archbishop of Lviv" and, on 2 November 2018, the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not recognise the UAOC or the UOC-KP and their leaders. The Ecumenical Patriarchate declared that it recognised sacraments performed by the UOC-KP and the UAOC as valid.
On 20 October 2018, the UOC-KP changed the title of its leader 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". The abridged form is "His Holiness (name), Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine", and the form for interchurch relations is "Archbishop, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus'-Ukraine". The full title and the interchurch-relations version's mention of "archbishop" and "metropolitan" and the abridged form's mention of "patriarch" have caused confusion.
Dissolution and merger with the UAOC into the OCU
On 15 December 2018, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and UOC-KP hierarchies decided to dissolve the churches. That day, the UAOC, the UOC–KP and some members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) were going to merge to form the Orthodox Church of Ukraine after a unification council.
According to Filaret, "the Kiev Patriarchate has not been liquidated. It is not liquidated. They want to present the situation as if it was liquidated. The Kiev Patriarchate can be liquidated by the one who created it". The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture, "in response to a widely circulated statement by the media, alleging that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate still exists or is being restored in Ukraine", published a report that the UOC-KP had "actually and legally ceased its activities". Filaret said, "The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP) remains registered with state bodies. In particular, the Kiev Patriarchate remains registered. This means the Kiev Patriarchate continues to legally exist." According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice, the UOC-KP still existed.
Separation from the OCU and reestablishment of the UOC–KP
The local council of the UOC-KP (convened by Filaret) decided to cancel the decisions of the unification council of the Orthodox churches of Ukraine on 20 June 2019, during the conflict between Filaret and Epiphanius.
On 31 July 2019, the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture said the UOC-KP had ceased to exist. However, on 4 September 2019, the District Administrative Court of Kiev suspended the liquidation of the UOC-KP at the request of the UOC-KP. On 11 September, another decision of the same court blocked "the Justice Ministry of Ukraine, the Culture Ministry of Ukraine, its structural sub-units, central-government and local authorities, and notaries public from performing any registration regarding the Kiev Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate [UOC-KP], and their assets" On 11 November 2019, the Court of Appeal of the District Administrative Court of Kiev confirmed legality of the process of liquidation of the UOC-KP.
On 14 December 2019, after the meeting of the enlarged Bishops' Council, held on December 14 in Kiev on the occasion of the anniversary of the creation of the OCU, Epiphanius delared that the procedure of liquidation of the UAOC as well as the UOC-KP had been completed the day before. He added: "Such structures no longer exist. In confirmation of that, in the State Register there is marked 'activity DISCONTINUED'". In the same month, the UOC-KP stated it did not recognize the liquidation.
The Kiev Patriarchate had 44 percent of Orthodox Christians, compared to 12.8 percent for the UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate. Although the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine (UOC-MP) has twice as many parishes, the UOC-KP had three times as many members. The former had 38 percent of all Orthodox and 25 percent of the population in 2016, and the Russian Orthodox had 23 percent of the Orthodox and 15 percent of the population. The UOC-KP had 34 dioceses worldwide, and over 5,100 parishes in Ukraine. Its United States vicariate consisted of 15 parishes, with its main cathedral St. Andrew's in Bloomingdale, Illinois. The church had six parishes in Australia, and over 40 in western Europe. The Russian government's reported negative influence on the Moscow Patriarchate and claims that it is using the patriarchate as a "tool of influence over Ukraine" led to a renewed April 2018 drive to recognise an independent Ukrainian Orthodox church which, according to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, would help "eliminate internal strife and conflicts within the state."
After being dismissed in 1992 by the Archhierarch Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Ukrainian Metropolitan Filaret created the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kiev Patriarchate (UOC–KP) under Patriarch Mstyslav of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC). Mstyslav never approved of the union of the UAOC and the UOC-KP.
Patriarch Mstyslav (Stepan Ivanovych Skrypnyk) was Patriarch of Kyiv and all Rus’-Ukraine and primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) and Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC–KP) from 1991 to 1993. After Mstyslav's death in 1993, the temporary union ended and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church separated. The primates of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church–Kyiv Patriarchate continued to hold the title of patriarch:
- Patriarch Volodymyr (Volodomyr Romaniuk) (1993–1995)
- Patriarch Filaret (Filaret Denysenko), (1995–2018, 2019–present)
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". The abridged form is "His Holiness (name), Patriarch of Kiev and All Russia-Ukraine", and the form for inter-church relations is "Archbishop, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus'-Ukraine". Metropolitan Hilarion called the bestowal of title a "farce".
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The Holy Synod discussed in particular and at length the ecclesiastical matter of Ukraine, in the presence of His Excellency Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon and His Grace Bishop Hilarion of Edmonton, Patriarchal Exarchs to Ukraine, and following extensive deliberations decreed:
1) To renew the decision already made that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceed to the granting of Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine. [...]
4) To revoke the legal binding of the Synodal Letter of the year 1686 [...]
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the Synod ... of the Ecumenical Patriarchate ... gave further confirmation that Ukraine is on the path to receiving church independence from Moscow. ... Although President Poroshenko triumphantly announced that as a result of the meeting Ukraine had received the long-awaited Tomos, or decree of Church independence – a claim circulated in Ukraine with great enthusiasm, this is not true ... Constantinople’s decision will benefit other jurisdictions in Ukraine – the UOC KP and UAOC, which will have to effectively dismantle their own administrative structures and set up a new Church, which will receive the Tomos of autocephaly ... Right now it’s unclear which part of the UOC MP will join the new Church. 10 out of 90 UOC MP bishops signed the appeal for autocephaly to the Ecumenical Patriarch – only 11%. But separate priests could join even if their bishops don’t, says Zuiev.
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3) To accept and review the petitions of appeal of Filaret Denisenko, Makariy Maletych and their followers, who found themselves in schism not for dogmatic reasons, in accordance with the canonical prerogatives of the Patriarch of Constantinople to receive such petitions by hierarchs and other clergy from all of the Autocephalous Churches. Thus, the above-mentioned have been canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank, and their faithful have been restored to communion with the Church.
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The Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church are planning to merge with pro-independence bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate into an independent (autocephalous) Ukrainian church, which is expected to get a Tomos — a Synod decree recognizing the independence of the Ukrainian church from the Constantinople church. “This decision gives us the opportunity to unite with bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate who are willing (to join),” Filaret said on Oct. 11.
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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.
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