Patriarch Filaret: Two Thirds of Parishes of UAOC Ready to Unite with Kyivan Patriarchate
Patriarch Filaret in an exclusive interview to RISU expressed an opinion that even though the negotiations between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP) and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) did not yield the expected result, it does not mean that the whole UAOC does not want unity. He assured that the dialogue will be resumed sooner or later.
“We did not unite because Metropolitan Mefodii, Metropolitan Andrii and some other representatives of the UAOC do not want unification. We will continue the dialogue with those who want unification. We know that in Lviv Oblast, there are many supporters of unity as well as in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast where the two thirds of all the parishes of the UAOC are located,” said the hierarch.
Talking about the recent unsuccessful negotiations with the clergy of the UAOC, the head of the Kyivan Patriarchate stressed that the initiative to meet at the roundtable did not come from representatives of the UOC-KP.
“We had some experience in 2000-2001 and in 2005. But when I received a proposal to meet with Metropolitan Mefodii and when he said at the meeting that he is prepared for unification, I thought that, perhaps, something changed during these years. Unfortunately, nothing changed,” noted Patriarch Filaret.
According to the hierarch, the dialogue failed exactly due to that unwillingness and lack of unity among the bishops of the UAOC.
“They argue between themselves a lot and not only about the unification but in general. The bishops quarrel with each other. Even during the sessions of the committees for the negotiation, the bishops of the UAOC argued with each other. One can imagine how they communicate with each other not in public,” the patriarch said.
“But in the question of unity of the Ukrainian Orthodoxy, the position of Mefodii and Andrii or someone else from UAOC is not a problem. The Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) is a problem. It will be a great victory if we unite in one national church with them, even with a part of them as it will be the real overcoming of the divide,” said the head of UOC-KP.