Kyiv Patriarchate does not exist, never existed - Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople
KYIV. June 3 (Interfax) - The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople has reinstated the episcopal status of former head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) Filaret (Denisenko) as former metropolitan of Kyiv, while the so-called Kyiv Patriarchate "does not exist and never existed," Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said in a statement.
Head of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine Serhiy Tomilenko posted a scan of the official address to Ukrainian journalists from Patriarch Bartholomew, who met with him in Istanbul last week, on his Facebook account.
In his address, Patriarch Bartholomew reiterated his support for Ukraine and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and insisted that granting it autocephaly "had nothing to do with politics or geopolitics", as the Mother Church of Constantinople has seen that, "for decades, if not centuries, Ukraine was not able to enjoy complete freedom from external influences, especially from the Russian State."
"As for Filaret, he was restored to his episcopal dignity as former Metropolitan of Kiev. The so-called 'Patriarchate of Kiev' does not exist and never existed," he said.
"We also profess, now that autocephaly has been granted, that it is the responsibility of the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, His Eminence Metropolitan Epiphanios, to lead this historic Church, strengthening the unity of the Ukrainian people, inspiring Christian values based on the Gospel, and making the gift of freedom a means to spread the good news of the New Testament," Patriarch Bartholomew said.