Kiev, November 15, Interfax - The self-proclaimed Kiev Patriarchate has called against "writing off" its leader Filaret Denisenko before it is time and said he may be nominated for the post of the head of the church independent of Moscow, which is being created by Constantinople.
"Everyone, both friends and foes, can rest assured and know that all 'plans' to do something without the patriarch [Filaret], without his consent and participation are destined to fail. And we, the bishops, the clergy and the flock of the Kiev Patriarchate, will not allow neglect or rejection of someone who has suffered so much neglect for us all, but has not given up!" Yevstraty Zorya, the press secretary of the "Kiev Patriarchate", said on Facebook on Wednesday evening.
It was reported on Saturday that Filaret Denisenko and Makary Maletich, the leaders of Ukraine's non-canonical churches, the "Kiev Patriarchate and the "Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church", had written letters to Patriarch Bartholomew saying they disagree to be nominated as candidates to the post of the leader of the new church. It was reported that Filaret demanded the title of "honored patriarch" and the post of the head of the Holy Synod in exchange for giving up his top management post and demanded the appointment of Yepifany Dumenko, "the patriarch's locum" of the "Kiev Patriarchate", as direct head of this church. On Wednesday, the media reported that Filaret and Makary would not attend the unification assembly "to save the archbishops the temptation of splitting into old 'parties'."
In the meantime, the press secretary of the "Kiev Patriarchate" said Filaret's consent not to nominate his candidacy only means there will be no principle of self-nomination at the upcoming assembly.
"That is, the patriarch or any other hierarch cannot nominate himself. If the assembly participants officially offer Patriarch Filaret to be a candidate, he will officially state his response to that offer at the assembly," Zorya said.
The recently published scenarios of the unification assembly are just "ideas," he said.
"All such strategists should have understood a long time ago that all plots and plans aimed against our patriarch are destined to fail," Zorya said, adding that "no legal changes will happen in the "Kiev Patriarchate" without Filaret's signature.
According to earlier reports, Patriarch Bartholomew in September sent two exarchs to Kiev to prepare for the establishment of an autocephalous church independent from the Moscow Patriarchate. On October 11, the Synod in Istanbul abrogated its ordinance of 1686 that put the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, announced the opening of its metochion in Kiev, and rehabilitated the leaders of the unrecognized Ukrainian Orthodox churches. In response, the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate announced that it was fully severing its relations with the Constantinople Church.