As it was previously reported, the Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate was held in Kyiv on May 27, at which it was announced that it would resign from the Russian Orthodox Church and its head, Patriarch Kirill. Representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate Church from the occupied Crimea, where it operates as three dioceses: Dzhankoi, Feodosia, Simferopol and Crimea, took part in the Council.
The entry of these dioceses into the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as “canonical” was not denied or advertised by the occupation “administration” of the peninsula for eight years, the word “Ukrainian” has been almost never used in public since 2014. At the same time, during these years of occupation, these three Crimean dioceses publicly expressed support for both the Russian invaders’ “government” and the aggressor’s armed forces.
After the Council of May 27, first the Simferopol and Crimean dioceses, and then the Feodosia dioceses, publicly stated that they had not “complied” with Council’s decision regarding Patriarch Kirill. As this position contradicts the general church rules, which are obligatory for Moscow, Kyiv and Simferopol, the statements of the Crimean clergy became a classic “split”, as the Council did not violate any rules on May 27.
It is noteworthy that the Dzhankoi diocese, well aware of the “spiciness” of the situation, tried to “pass between the drops” in its statement, condemning the decision of the Council, but not declaring its non-compliance.
The ARC wrote that the situation of the actual split of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate into “subordinates” and “non-subordinates” of Cyril is a bell for the clergy of southern mainland Ukraine, which the occupiers will put pressure on.
Indeed, public threats by collaborators, such as Russian-controlled “businessman” Igor Brzezycki of Kakhovka was made against Novokahovka and Genichesk Metropolitan Filaret, who was reportedly demanded not to comply with the Council’s decision on May 27, with “consequences” promised.
However, the curators of the Moscow Patriarchate have now decided “not to deal with the Ukrainian issue” and at their council on June 7 in Moscow they declared “direct canonical and administrative subordination” of the three Crimean dioceses of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to Patriarch Kirill.
It is predicted that such actions, with the public encroachments of the Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarch on the canonical territory of Ukraine, will have profound consequences for both Ukrainian Orthodoxy and for the Moscow Patriarchate in third countries.