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Who is newly elected head of independent Ukrainian Orthodox church Metropolitan Epifaniy?

Author : News Agency 112.ua

Metropolitan of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) Epifaniy (Dumenko) was elected head of the local Orthodox church of Ukraine
17:20, 17 December 2018

Press Service of the President of Ukraine

Metropolitan of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) Epifaniy (Dumenko) was elected head of the local Orthodox church of Ukraine.

He received a majority of the bishops' votes, leaving behind his competitors – Simeon, Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnytsia and Bar (UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate) and Metropolitan of Lutsk and Volyn Mykhail (UOC of Kyiv Patriarchate).

Related: Unification Assembly of Ukrainian Orthodox Church: all you need to know

Epifaniy will go to Istanbul on January 6 to receive Tomos autocephaly on from the hands of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Life of Epifaniy

Epifaniy was born on February 3, 1979, in the village of Volkovo, Odesa region. He has spent his childhood and school years in the village of Stara Zhadova, Chernivtsi region. In 1996, he graduated from Starozhadovytska secondary school, after he entered Kyiv Theological Seminary of the UOC-KP, from which he graduated in 1999. In 1999, he entered Kyiv Theological Academy and graduated in 2003 (Candidate of Theology degree; “Formation of Church-canonical collections in the pre-Nicene period and their characteristics”).

Related: Tomos about autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church to be solemnly presented on Christmas Eve

Later Epifaniy worked as secretary-assistant of Rivne Diocesan Administration and was a personal secretary of Metropolitan of Rivne and Ostroh Danyil (Chokalyuk), who became his spiritual mentor.

In parallel, the future head of the local church was engaged in journalism. In 2003-2005, he led "Rivne Pravoslavne" (Rivne Orthodox)Internet-portal, and also was a member of the editorial board of the religious- "Dukhovna Nyva" (Spiritual field) religious newspaper.

In December 2005, he was admitted to Ukraine’s National Union of Journalists. In 2006-2007, he completed an internship at the Athens National University (Faculty of Philosophy).

Epifaniy speaks Greek, which is a useful skill in communicating with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

In January 2008, he was ordained hierodeacon by head of the UOC-KP Filaret (Denysenko), and then became hieromonk (on January 20, 2008). Later Epifaniy was appointed Filaret’s secretary.

In March 2008, he was ordained an archimandrite in St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral. In the same month, he was appointed the governor of St. St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv. In May 2008, he was appointed the manager of the affairs of the Kyiv Patriarchate. At the Holy Synod of the UOC-KP, he was elected Bishop of Vyshgorodsky, vicar of the Kyiv diocese. On November 15, 2009, he was ordained a bishop. By the decision of the Holy Synod of the UOC-KP from July 27, 2010, he was appointed rector of the Kyiv Orthodox Theological Academy and the governor of the Pereiaslav-Khmelnytsky diocese.

Related: Bartholomew congratulates on election and blesses celebrant of Ukraine's Orthodox Church Epifaniy

On November 17, 2011, he was awarded the title of professor of the Kyiv Orthodox Theological Academy. On January 23, 2012, he was promoted to the rank of Archbishop. By the decision of the Bishops' Council of the UOC-KP on June 28, 2013, he was raised to the rank of Metropolitan of Pereiaslav-Khmelnitsky and Bila Tserkva and was appointed patriarchal governor with the rights of the diocesan bishop. On December 13, 2017, he was named Metropolitan of Pereiaslav and Bila Tserkva.

According to the statute, in the event of the death of the patriarch, the governor becomes the locum tenens of the patriarchal throne. That is, Epifaniy actually became the "right hand" of Patriarch Filaret.

Epifaniy has made more than 50 scientific publications, including several monographs in Orthodox theology.

Epifaniy was awarded the Order of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, the Order of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Volodymyr the Great of the Third Degree, the Order of the Holy Archangel Michael, the Order of the Holy Cross of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church. He has also received awards and honors with the Order of Merit of ІІ and III degrees, a letter of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, thanks to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, a letter of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, decorations of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, command Army of Ukraine, with distinctions of the National Pedagogical University of M. P. Drahomanov and "Ukrainian People's Embassy."

Related: US Embassy congratulates Ukraine on establishment of United Local Orthodox Church

Views and position

In December 2015, Epifaniy published a program article entitled “How much longer would Moscow swarm in Ukrainian souls.”

Epifaniy described the anti-Ukrainian "joint actions of the leadership of the Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, the political leadership of Russia with the involvement of representatives of the main clergy of the Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine."

Partially, the article reveals Epifaniy’s position, although some experts agree that in the future he might become a little less radical.

"This is a church without Putin. This is a church without Kirill (Russian Orthodox bishop, - Ed). This is a church without a prayer for the Russian authorities and the Russian army that kill Ukrainians. But this is a church with God and Ukraine!" said President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko during his recent speech.

Related: Photos of Ukrainian Orthodox Church Unification Assembly appear on web

“I am convinced that the local Orthodox Church is united; it is faithfully and truly recognized to serve the Ukrainian people, to pray and lead them to the salvation. I would like to urge all of our brethren, bishops, and all the faithful to the United Ukrainian Local Church. The doors of our church are open to all. We call on everyone to unite, we call on everyone to be part of this recognized United Local Orthodox Church of Ukraine. We still have a lot of work ahead. First of all, we must complete this work of unity of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, cherish our Ukrainian theological education and science, pray for an end to the war, and for the rule of a just peace in Ukraine. And may the Lord God help us in this through the prayers of all Ukrainian saints. Glory to Jesus Christ and glory to Ukraine!” stated Epifaniy in his greeting.

Related: Patriarch Kirill complains Pope Francis about pressure on Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate

Read the original text at 112.ua.

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