A spokesman for the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya), asked to pray to God to help Filaret, the honorary patriarch, beat temptations, including the love of power.
“Appreciating the previous merits of the Honorary Patriarch before the Church, we must ask God to help the elder to overcome this temptation, perhaps the last one in his life, and therefore the most difficult one – the temptation of revenge, untruth, and power-craving. So that he found strength to humble himself, having already taken part in the Unification Council, voted for the new Primate, and congratulated him on his enthronement – so that he found strength to stop helping enemies in their fight against the Local Church and reconcile with the latter,” Archbishop Yevstratiy wrote on Facebook.
He also published a photo taken at the Unification Council, where Filaret applauds the election of Metropolitan Epifaniy as Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
A spokesman for the OCU compared Filaret to a late staffer of the UOC-KP (Kyiv Patriarchate), mother Varvara, who in her senior age, although being unable to perform all her duties in full, had been refusing to hire a junior aide as she thought this would lead to her losing her managing power.
“To reassure the honorable person, a nun was assigned to patiently help her, while leaving the keys, the drawing-up of documents, and other formal signs of power to her. Because even though she was physically unfit, Mother Varvara sought to work as usual. How did the Patriarch react to this? He openly said that the woman’s mind was already blurred. But out of respect for her previous merits, everyone came to terms with that situation. Today, the Honorary Patriarch Filaret reminds Abbess Varvara in her last years of life: he is striving to hold on to the formal signs of power until the last moment,” Archbishop Yevstratiy believes.
“However, the Church is not the Patriarchate HQ on Pushkinska Street, church affairs are not about maintaining a household, so it is impossible to pretend, even out of respect to the old age of such a deserving person, that he remains Primate when another hierarch has been elected and enthroned by the Council,” the OCU spokesman emphasizes.