Ukrainian Church split by Moscow and KGB, Honorary Patriarch Filaret says
In an exclusive interview on the eve of his 90th anniversary, celebrated on January 23, the Honorary Patriarch Filaret told TSN Tyzhden how he had almost become the Patriarch of Moscow and spoke about the role of the security services in the Church.
The First Hierarch said that the Russian Church could have been led by a Ukrainian. Moreover, he even had to head it. But the KGB and the Kremlin arranged a true collusion, because all the clerics of the Church cooperated with the State Security Committee. So instead, Alexiy was elected to the office of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.
“The Politburo had trained me, and the KGB had trained Metropolitan Alexiy ... If you oppose the KGB's decision, you can put forward the bishop, but you cannot get him registered, and he will not get a diocese. Without registration, nobody had the right to serve. Either you fulfill the requirements of the authorities or you do not exist. Every bishop of the Moscow Patriarchate without exception had contacts with the KGB. There was no bishop who would not be in contact with the KGB because the system itself was such that it was impossible otherwise to manage the church. Even when appointing a bishop, a candidate had to be agreed on with the KGB,” Filaret mentions, and emphasizes that he then decided to establish an independent Ukrainian Church, and since then Moscow has been trying to topple him.
According to him, since Ukraine became an independent state, there has been no intervention by the SBU. There is communication, but without any coordination: “We are communicating. But we do not coordinate our actions. There is a huge difference between the KGB and the SBU. Then, we could not do anything without the decision of the security services, and now we can do everything we consider necessary, even if the SBU disapproves it.”
The Honorable Patriarch sees his role in the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine as follows, “I am a patriarch, I have been and I remain a patriarch. Today, the Head of the Local Church is Metropolitan Epifaniy, but I do not refuse to participate in the development of the Ukrainian Church. I am an unrecognized patriarch for world Orthodoxy, but for Ukraine I am a patriarch and I remain a patriarch.”