Due to the fact that the Orthodox Church of Ukraine recently celebrated the 12th anniversary of the episcopal ordination of its Primate, Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine, the Moscow Patriarchate has once again recalled their old lies about the church head.
In particular, ROCinU propagandists claimed that Metropolitan Epifaniy was not a bishop, because in June 2019 Patriarch Filaret said that “if the Ecumenical Patriarch lifted my anathema in 2018, the entire episcopate is invalid.”
The information is only half true though. Filaret did say such words, but the Ecumenical Patriarch did not “lift the anathema”, and in 2018 recognized the anathema as invalid from the start. That is, from the very imposition of the anathema on Filaret, it had no canonical force because it was imposed due to political factors.
“The request for appeal from Filaret Denisenko, Makary Maletich, and their followers, who found themselves in a schism for reasons other than dogmatic, shall be accepted and considered,” said a press release on the decision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate published on October 11, 2018.
Thus, if someone has been accused illegally and not in line with canonical norms, the result of granting the appeal can only be the recognition that the accusation decisions were invalid all the way.
Thus, all the anathemas imposed on Filaret by the Moscow Patriarchate were not null and void from the beginning, while Filaret himself was never deprived of his position and remained a bishop, with all the corresponding implications. All the ordinations of bishops he performed, including of Epifaniy, are also deemed valid and canonical.
It should be added that Filaret himself did not recognize the Moscow anathema: “Not only did I not recognize the anathema, but the Ukrainian people didn’t recognize it either, and that is why I appointed a large number of bishops.”
Filaret also noted that the anathema had been invalid from the very beginning.