RFE/RL – 2/12/17
KYIV — The head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Filaret, has said the Ukrainian church will never go back under the control of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Filaret told journalists in Kyiv on December 1 that the Russian Orthodox Church was “deceptive” on November 30 when it said he had written a letter to Russian Patriarch Kirill asking for forgiveness.
The Moscow Patriarchate excommunicated Filaret after he broke his Kyiv Patriarchate from Moscow in 1992.
“They now want to call us again to talks on a return to the Moscow Patriarchate,” Filaret said. “First of all, I want to tell the Moscow patriarch and the Russian bishops that the Ukrainian church will never go back to the Moscow Patriarchate. Why is that? Because we have our own state. Don’t you see how deceptive Moscow is? One cannot trust them.”
Filaret added that in the letter, which was part of an exchange initiated by the Russian side, he wrote about a possible dialogue between the two churches. However, he requested that the Moscow Patriarchate recognize the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s autocephaly as a precondition for such talks.
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