A case study of the ecclesiastical situation within Ukraine




30 SEptember 2021

The Eparchy of St. Julius expresses profound bitterness in noting that only a small portion of Orthodoxy have offically recognized the canonicity of the new Orthodox Church in Ukraine that was created by the Patriarch of Constantinople unilaterally in 2018.

Yet, the same Patriarch of Constantinople in 1997 signed the decree of condemnation of anathema unanimously with all other orthodox Primates against the former Patriarch of Kiev Filaret Denisenko (February 23, 1997).

Yet, three days Before that very date, Patriarch Filaret ceased ties uncanonically with Metropolitan Evlogij, forgetting to communicate this decision to the Synod of Bishops of Western Europe.  Although having receaved the decree of Anathema (3 days later), Patriarch Filaret overlooked the dissolution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Archieparchy of Western Europe and Canada!

Furthermore, in considering the fact that canonical dissolution never occured;  the Church in question remained very much alive throught its bishops; these were literally forgotten – without any such motivation formulated by Filaret.

The Bishops of the Ukranian Archdiocese of Western Europe and Canada, never acepted any such union with  the new so called “Synod of Milan” (extablished in 1997 by Metropolitan Evlogij as a revenge against Filaret), the innings of rebuttal!         

In addition, the newly created Synod had no such  connections with the Ukranian Orthodox Church – the cause of departure for the  Canadian bishops who made way to Moscow. Yet some died and amongst the others that live; the launcing of false accusations and concealed misinformation harboured against saintly men of God  (Metropolitan Vigilij of France) as a primary example via malicious renound prelates.

This grand oversight of an anatemized patriarch Filaret, indeed rendered us a phenomenal opportunity to survive with dignity throught our own episcopate.

We are truly raised in the dignity and canonicity of the institution of Patriarch Volodymir of Blessed memory; now under the presidency of Metropolitan Volodymir of Sant Jiulius and Janua. This situation of apparent isolation, ironically, has saved the Western European Episcopate from entering under the fatal cloak of anathema.

This supposed anathema still holds for the absolute majority of Orthodox Churches – the subsequent mind set for these jurisdictions within Orthodoxy: All “bishops” consacrated to the episcopate by Patriarch Denisenko after February 1997 are consided deprived of sacramental grace and canonicity.

The current so-called “Orthodox Church in Ukraine” (Православна Церква України), presided by His Betaitude Epiphanius Dumienko, is recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, by the Church of Alexandria, and by the Church of Greece (the Church of Cyprus has not yet expressed its synodal position). In any case, the Ukrainian Orthodox Archdiocese of Western Europe and Canada prefers to call the Mother Church by its original name, i.e. Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Українська Православна Церква) this egarding its supposed new title Orthodox Church in Ukraine (Православна Церква України).

The absolute majority of Orthodox Churches, consider this proclaimed Church of Epiphanius vehemently schismatic – void of all sacramental grace; due to the reception of bishops having received “episcopal consecration” from a layman (Patriarch Filaret Denisenko) – yet they are the ones who supposedly anathematized Patriarch Denisenko: they have no episcopal grace!

The Majority of Orthodox Christianity recognize His Beatitude Onophrius as Primate of the Ukranian Orthodox Church; labeling the bishops of the new church as schismatic laymen (officially addressing them with lay titles – surname i.e. Mr. Dumienko, etc).

The Lord our God desired that this situation be a portal for our rightful canonical standing: a situation that renders our position totally neutral – the means of unveiling our heritage regarding apostolic succession from the universally recognized ROCOR and not from Patriarch Filaret.

This being a situation of neutrality and in a Status Quo, renders us at the same time protected from the shadows of schisms and condemnations linked to personal anathemas or to canonical or non-canonical territorial interference. In addition, within this current timeframe, no Church in the Ukraine can be labled canonical or out of danger, and this is “truly political”.

The universal reality is that most Orthodox Churches (Moscow, Serbia, Bulgaria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Cyprus, Romania, Georgia, Czechia, Slovakia, OCA, and ROCOR, consider the “Ukrainian Church” created by Patriarch Bartholomew void of all grace and ruled by the laity! it is considered within Orthodox Christerdom that a procedure towords a possible anathema regarding the Ecumenical Patriarch is imminent..  

Moscow would then recognize the status of autocephaly proclaimed by the former Metropolitan of Kiev and Galizia: Filaret! Never would we have thought that the Ecumenical Patriarchate could enter (alike an elephant stampede which charges into the most delicate surroundings  of a crystal emporium) uncanonically within the affairs of ecclesiastical politics of the Ukraine.

Actually, the Ukrainian Orthodox Archdiocese of Western Europe and Canada with its 7 bishops were consecrated via sucession from the line of ROCOR (Some consecrations are througt St John Maximovich), these are in full communion with the Italian Orthodox Church, established by the Patriarchate of Bulgaria in 1996, and now precided by Metropolitan Vasilij (a former Archbishop of the Patriarchate of Kiev and co-consacrator with Vladyka Volodymir of Metropolitan Michel Laroche). Thus, together with these and others from the Montenegrin Episcopate; we look at this current situation with utmost caution and pastoral concern – beseeching Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for Ecclesial Unity in the Ukraine.

In conclusion, the position of the Ukrainian Orthodox Archdiocese of Western Europe and Canada is neuteral and ardently desires to remain neutral, confident that the peace of Christ our Bishop will always enlighten the Orthodox Church, made up of all the national Churches united irenically.