Patriarch Filaret Explains Why Kyivan Patriarchate Did Not Join Constantinople
The head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP) said in an interview to RISU that in 2008, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople proposed the UOC-KP to join it and, later, receive an autonomy. The conditions of Constantinople, however, were unacceptable for the clergy of the UOC-KP and the union was not concluded.
"Some say that we did not join the Patriarchate of Constantinople as Filaret did not want to give up leadership. But it is not true. No one set a condition of my resignation either in Fanari or Kyiv. No one!" he said.
"The situation was as follows. They conducted negotiations with me and proposed us to join the Constantinople Patriarchate. Viktor Andriiovych [editor: Yushchenko] agreed and said: 'We will be canonical! Moreover, we will be first! For the Patriarchate of Constantinople is the first and the Moscow Patriarchate is the fifth,'" said the patriarch.
According to Patriarch Filaret, at the time of the negotiations in 2008, Ukrainians wanted to obtain recognition and Greeks wanted to subordinate Ukraine. “Instead, it proposed conditions which were worse than the conditions of the Kyivan Metropolitanate before the 17th century and than the present conditions of the UOC-MP,” said the patriarch.
The hierarch said that the delegation of the UOC-KP demanded from Constantinople guarantees that the UOC-KP would be granted autocephaly in a specified period of time but Constantinople refused to give such guarantees.
Patriarch Filaret noted that it is not necessary to join anyone in order to obtain recognition and cited the examples of the Bulgarian and Romanian Churches.
To obtain the recognition of their autocephaly, neither Hellenic nor Bulgarian nor Romanian Orthodox Churches joined Constantinople but were simply recognized autocehalous, that was all. And if anyone says that it is impossible to recognize the Kyivan Patriarchate because its head was anathematized by Moscow, there is an answer to it as well: how then was the Bulgarian Church, where all the bishops were anathematized by Constantinople, recognized?” he said.