Patriarch Filaret is hoping he would be granted autocephaly by the Moscow Patriarchate. He wants to lead the autocephalous church and be a patriarch, while ignoring any attempts to explain to him the falsity of such concept. That’s according to Archbishop Evstratiy (Zoria), spokesman for the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
In a comment section under his Facebook post, he said Filaret is convinced that in the near future Moscow will “give real autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine]. And that he, Patriarch Filaret, will be “the Patriarch of this truly autocephalous Church.” That is why what’s needed is to “be patient” and “not lose ground,” wrote Evstratiy.
Moscow minions have convinced Filaret in something the latter finds pleasing to his ears, Evstratiy adds. And Filaret believed them. “Now any attempt to explain that these ideas are completely absurd he simply ignores. “You understand nothing… You have no experience…”
Also, Archbishop Evstratiy said honorary patriarch Filaret sought to have his appeal satisfied [on the lifting of ROC’s anathema and as regards the Tomos), and never cared about what would happen next.
That is, all the problems that the Ecumenical Patriarch has been having in connection with these acts, all of those Moscow attacks are “his problem.” “Once we get the Tomos, we’ll put an end to this,” Patriarch Filaret said. Meanwhile, the issue of implementing everything in relations with the rest of the Churches is “not his problem,” wrote the OCU archbishop, branding it an “ugly stance.”
“He had every opportunity to be a truly Honorary Patriarch, not to lead the Church formally, but to remain an elder-mentor, whose authoritative opinion is attended to. However, he decided that the main thing was to be at the helm, that the Tomos and the decisions of the Council should just be thrown in the trash can, and that everyone listen to him. ‘While I’m alive, you must listen to me, and then do whatever you want,’ he also once said. That is, he is ready to split the Church again, to sow discord with Constantinople for the sake of a Koukoulion [a traditional headdress worn by primates]. And to ‘die a Patriarch,’ and then you all will have to deal with the mess that ensues,” wrote the OCU.
He explained that Filaret could not lead the newly formed church, because in this case no church would have recognized the OCU: “… during the visits of the Ecumenical Patriarch to local top clerics, all Local Churches stated they would in no case recognize the Tomos of autocephaly if the Local church is led by Patriarch Filaret.”
It should be recalled that in late 2019, the OCU head said in an interview that certain pro-Russian forces were playing their game behind Filaret’s back. Theologian Dmytro Horevoi spoke about the trace of the FSB [the Russian security agency].
On October 19, 2020, Filaret, echoing propaganda narratives, claimed that the Tomos was “not of the right kind” and “in violation of Orthodox purity,” although in 2008 he had agreed to a diocese within the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In a comment for the Spiritual Front of Ukraine, Metropolitan Oleksandr (Drabynko) said that the statement wasn’t authored by Filaret but by those had “law enforcement insignia” sticking out from under their robes. Metropolitan Oleksandr is convinced that “Filaret tries to bargain a plaque that’s already fallen off the wall.”
We also wrote that Filaret could unite with the Moscow Patriarch against Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Russia has already drawn him into an information war against the OCU. Even rallies in support of Filaret were in fact organized by people closely affiliated with the Russian forces.
The ROC still has a letter of formal repentance from Filaret, which he sent to Patriarch Kirill and the ROC episcopate back in the fall of 2017. In this letter, Filaret asked to “repeal” his anathema and establish prayerful communication between the ROC and the UOC-KP [Kyiv Patriarchate]. Potentially, Filaret and the ROC are “allies” who are ready to forgive each other for the sake of their own ambitions for power, in which again the vectors of both the ROC and Filaret run in parallel lines. The ROC even expressed how deeply they felt for the “deceived old man.”
Filaret craves to be recognized as a canonical Patriarch and to lead the church, while Moscow Patriarch Kirill seeks to become Ecumenical Patriarch. After the OCU received the Tomos, the Honorary Patriarch in private conversations with the clergy stressed that the ROC was mentally closer to the Ukrainian Church than the Ecumenical Patriarch and that he was ready to unite with ROC in Ukraine’s leader Onufriy. The main thing for Moscow is to destroy the OCU and strike a blow at the Ecumenical Patriarch, not for Filaret to become a recognized Patriarch, or for the Ukrainian Church to receive “real” autocephaly.
Recently, Archbishop Evstratiy said that Filaret demanded that the Synod of the Kyiv Patriarchate be convened instead of that of the OCU. In addition, the OCU leader is convinced that Filaret is trying to hinder the OCU development.