LAST UPDATE: 19:45
By Kostas Onisenko
Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine will ask the Ecumenical Patriarchate to elevate the Orthodox Church of Ukraine to the status of Patriarchate as soon as most local Churches recognize the Tomos of Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
This is what Metropolitan Epifaniy stated at the Hierarchical Synod held on December 15 in Kyiv. This is an issue that has been mentioned other times in the past and its repetition is of particular importance to Ukrainians.
The reason for mentioning this issue has to do with the Russian propaganda within Ukraine and with the attempt of the representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church to degrade the importance of the Tomos of Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine to stop the significant “leakage” of believers to the new Autocephalous Church.
The argument of Russian propaganda, which is largely promoted by the “Honorary Patriarch” Filaret, has to do with the fact that while the Ukrainians “expected” the newly established Church to be a Patriarchate from the beginning —rightly so in church practice— however, the Metropolis of Kyiv was restored.
All interested parties understand that this is not a matter of substance and the fact that the primate is a Metropolitan and not a Patriarch does not take away from the autonomy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
It is an Autocephalous Church, with all the results that this brings, for example, the primate of the Church of Greece is an Archbishop and not a Patriarch.
However, the argument that “the Metropolitan is inferior to the Patriarch, so the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine is less important than the representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine,” does not target those who know the church issues very well but ordinary Ukrainian faithful who do not delve into these issues.
These arguments, projected by the pro-Russian media in Ukraine (at least 3 national TV channels), target the viewers’ emotion, trying to make them feel that “some” consider them less important or less worthy than others.
“This is a ploy by Russian propaganda that —without being particularly intelligent— resonates with a certain audience of Ukrainian believers, especially those who under the weight of the Kremlin propaganda are cautious anyway about anything coming from the West.”
Therefore, the reference of Metropolitan Epifaniy to the elevation of the Metropolis to the status of Patriarchate, in addition to its essential dimension, that is, he can request it in the future, is an important message for some Ukrainians who see their sense of pride hurt by the fabricated reports of the pro-Russian media in Ukraine.
As for the process that needs to be preceded, the leader of the Ukrainian Church seems to fully understand the path that the newly formed Church must take.
That is why he is completely honest with the faithful when he says: “We should not put the cart before the horse”, unless you solve the initial issues, it’s impossible to demand to solve the next ones. That is why the proximity to the realization of the -recognized by all orthodoxy – Patriarchate of Kyiv does not depend on the loud statements and slogans, but on the imperative daily work of all of us on the preservation of unity and peace”.