Darya Melekhova on Vesti.FM: Constantinople’s tomos did not help Filaret to return to power
Ukrainian Metropolitan Filaret’s mistakes led to complete loss of power by him in the church world, even though the anathema was removed, the analyst of the federal news agency Vestnik Kavkaza, Darya Melekhova told in the National Question program on the Vesti.FM.
Darya Melekhova recalled that Filaret’s barren path to supreme church authority began in November 1991, when he convened a bishop’s cathedral of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate that appealed to the Moscow Patriarchate with a request to grant the UOC autocephaly. However, a few days later, a number of hierarchs withdrew their signatures from the document.
In February 1997, at the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, Filaret, who was officially a simple monk since 1992, was suspended and anathematized. In this status, he lived twenty years until November 2017, when he sent a letter to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus’ Kirill and the bishopric of the Russian Orthodox Church with a proposal “to put an end to the existing confrontation,” but with a warning that the goal of the negotiations was to receive autocephaly by the Kyiv Patriarchate.
Since there was no talk of any autocephaly on the part of the Russian Orthodox Church, Filaret turned to Constantinople and amid the new geopolitical conditions of Western pressure on Russia, the Patriarchate of Constantinople accepted Filaret’s request to remove the anathema from him and return the church rank. However, this same event was de facto an end of Filaret’s career: at the unification council of late 2018, convened at the initiative of the Patriarch of Bartholomew of Constantinople and President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, Metropolitan Epiphanius was appointed the head of the new organization - the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
At the same time, Filaret received the status of the honorary patriarch, but only in words: in the charter of the OCU there was no such status. On January 6, 2019, Filaret was not present at the Tomos Orthodox Autocephaly transfer ceremony in Istanbul. He was not present at the intronization of Metropolitan Epiphanius, which took place in Kyiv on February 3.
After receiving the tomos, Metropolitan Epiphanius never worshiped with the honorary Patriarch Filaret. For several months, none of the hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Constantinople worshiped with Patriarch Filaret as well. Thus, despite the canonical rehabilitation of Filaret, the hierarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate continue to refrain from contacts with him, Darya Melekhova concluded.