Patriarch Filaret Criticizes Moscow's Position on Ukrainian Autocephaly
Unlike the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Volodymyr, who once stressed that the Ukrainian question should be settled by the council of all the local Orthodox Churches, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate, Patriarch Filaret, is convinced that it is impossible to realize that idea in the modern conditions. He said so in an interview to RISU.
"In what way the council is to settle the issue, by consensus or majority? Moscow is for consensus and Constantinople is for majority, why so? Because consensus is the right of 'veto.' They do not talk about any church having the right of 'veto.' If they mentioned 'veto,' everyone would ridicule their use of 'veto' in church matters. It is unacceptable! But consensus, in its essence, means the same: if one church does not agree, the decision is not passed. That is why they have tried to convene the All-Orthodox Council for forty years unsuccessfully. And why does Moscow insist on the consensus? For it allows it to ensure not only its rights but domination of its interests. If anything does not fit the interests of Moscow, it does not agree to it and the decision is not passed. Constantinople understands it and argues for passing decisions by the majority. Moscow does not agree to it. And now a dispute began as to whether to pass decisions at the All-Orthodox Council by consensus or majority," said Patriarch Filaret in the interview.
According to the hierarch, representatives of Moscow say that they will agree to the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodoxy when everyone else agrees, but it is impossible to have unanimous support of the community in any question.
Therefore, according to the patriarch, one should not raise this question in that way, since even at the referendum on the proclamation of the Ukrainian state, 92% voted for the independence and 8% were against it. And despite the fact they were “against,” Ukraine gained independence. Patriarch Filaret stressed that, according to opinion polls, the majority is for autocephaly, for one local church.
The patriarch also mentioned the example of the Russian Church when Metropolitan Kirill (Gundiaev) was elected Patriarch of Moscow: "And how were you, the Patriarch of Moscow elected? Was everyone for it? Not everyone but the majority. And a considerable part was against it! But you consider yourself a lawful patriarch and rule also those who opposed your election? Why then you bring forth another principle in the question of autocephaly?" said the patriarch in conclusion.