Head of the Kyiv Patriarchate of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church Filaret said that Ukrainian Orthodox Church will never return to the Moscow Patriarchate, explaining his recent letter to the Russian Orthodox Church. Filaret said this at a press conference on air of 112 Ukraine TV channel.
"I want to declare to the Russian Episcopate: the Ukrainian Church will never return to the Moscow Patriarchate because we have our own state. Just as they have their own state, so do us. There will never be a return. Only the local church will be here in Ukraine because there is a Ukrainian state there is an apostolic right, the people must have their own bishop," Filaret said.
He also explained that in his recent letter to the Russian Orthodox Church he did not apologize over the creation of Kyiv Patriarchate of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church.
"I want to state firmly –there is no repentance that I chose the path of autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, never was and never will be. Why will I never regret it? Because God gave us the state. And if we have the state, then in this state there should be an independent Orthodox church. This is an axiom. All autocephalous churches have passed this way, beginning with the Russian one," Filaret said.
Filaret added that a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in New York, Metropolitan of the Russian Church Abroad, Illarion, asked him to write a letter about reconciliation. After that, he wrote a letter to the ROC in order to ask for reconciliation and autocephaly of Kyiv Patriarchate of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church.
As it was reported earlier head of the Kyiv Patriarchate of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church Filaret released the letter, in which he offers the counterparts from the Russian Orthodox Church to reconcile – for the sake of peace between the Orthodox Christians in both countries. Archbishop Yevstratiy Zorya released the letter’s copy at Facebook.
The Kyiv Patriarchate of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church originated in 1992 as a result of a schism, the division between the Moscow Patriarchate and its former locum tenens, Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine Filaret. He chose to convert his former see (of which he was head for more than two decades) into the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, initially within the legal framework of the Russian Orthodox Church. The majority of the Pro-Russian bishops refused to support him, and forced him to resign his position.
Undeterred, Filaret, with the support of the Ukrainian government, initiated a merger with the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC). In response, almost all Pro-Russian bishops called a Sobor, where they refused to follow Filaret, and ruled to defrock and anathemise him. However the union between the Western Ukrainian and diaspora clergy of the former UAOC and the now 'defrocked' Russian Orthodox clergy who followed Filaret, became very fragile. Filaret assumed the Patriarchal throne in autumn 1995.
The Kyiv Patriarchate of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church is currently unrecognized by canonical Eastern Orthodox churches, although now the Ecumenical Patriarchate who is the Mother Church, and alone can only grant canonical status and autocephaly is examining the request and petition of the Ukrainian Government and its people to be officially recognized.