Patriarch Filaret (Mykhailo Denysenko)

Patriarch Filaret (Mykhailo Denysenko)

: "The material from this article should be in Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchate and History of Christianity in Ukraine."

Infobox Patriarch
honorific-prefix =
name = Filaret
patriarch_of =
honorific-suffix =

church = Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchate
see = Kiev
birthname = Mykhailo Antonovych Denysenko
enthroned = July 1995
ended = Incumbent
predecessor = Volodymyr
successor =
birth_date = Birth date and age|1929|1|23|df=y
birth_place = Blahodatne, Amvrosiivsky Raion, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine
death_date =
death_place =
buried =
nationality =
religion =
residence =
parents =
spouse =
children =
ocupation =
profession =
alma_mater =

Patriarch Filaret, secular name Mykhailo Antonovych Denysenko, officially, "His Holiness, the Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus’ - Ukraine Filaret", (born 23 January, 1929) is the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchate, one of two major Orthodox Churches in Ukraine. He was elected and enthroned as a UOC-KP leader in October, 1995.

Early years

Mykhailo Denysenko was born in the Blahodatne village of the Amvrosiivsky Raion (district) in the Donetsk Oblast (province) in the East of Ukraine in a workers' family. He obtained theological education at the Odessa Seminary and the Moscow Theological Academy where he became a close associate of Patriarch Alexius I of Moscow and took monastic vows in 1950 assuming the monastic name "Filaret". He was ordained hierodeacon in January 1950 and priest in June 1951. After his graduation he stayed at the Moscow Theological Academy as a Professor (from 1952) and Senior Assistant to the Academy inspector. In 1956 he was appointed Inspector of the Theological Seminary in Saratov and elevated to the rank of hegumen. In 1957 he was appointed Inspector of the Kiev Theological Seminary. In July 1958 he was further elevated to the rank of Archimandrite and appointed seminary Rector.

Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church

From 1960 he was effectively in charge of the Ukrainian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church and served at St Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kiev, the exharchate's mother cathedral.

In 1961 Filaret served in the mission of the Russian Orthodox Church to the Patriarch of Alexandria. In January 1962 Filaret was elected vicar Bishop of the Leningrad Eparchy and, in February, he was ordained Bishop in Leningrad by Metropolitan Pimen (later Moscow Patriarch) and other bishops. After that, Filaret was appointed to several diplomatic missions of the Russian Orthodox Church and from 1962 to 1964 served as ROC Bishop of Vienna and Austria. In 1964 he returned to Moscow as the Bishop of Dmitrov and Rector of Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary.

In 1966 he became an archbishop and soon after the Metropolitan of Kiev and Halych thus becoming one of the most influential hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church, where the office of the Kiev Metropolitan is highly regarded. At that time he also became a permanent member of the Holy Synod, the highest collegiate body of the Russian Orthodox Church that elects the Moscow Patriarch. It is notable that he became the first ethnic Ukrainian at the post of Kiev Metropolitan for the past 150 years.

As a leader of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, Filaret actively and publicly supported the suppression of Ukrainian churches that refused to associate with the ROC, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

With the ailing physical condition of Pimen I, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus', Filaret personally oversaw the preparation and celebration of the Baptism of Rus' millennium anniversary in 1988. That celebration redefined the relationship between the Soviet state and the church, and was marked with the return of numerous church buildings to the ROC.

Upon the death of Patriarch Pimen I on May 3, 1990, Filaret was widely viewed as a front runner in the Russian Orthodox Church patriarchal election, especially when, with the election still pending, he became a patriarchal "locum tenens".

However, Filaret lost the election on June 6, 1990 for the Patriarch of Moscow to Metropolitan Alexius (Alexey Ridiger) of Leningrad and Novgorod (who became enthroned as Patriarch Alexius II).

In October 1990, Filaret's Metropolitan chair was renamed to Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was granted official autonomy, the status one step short of the full autocephaly, under the Moscow Patriarchate.

Creation and leadership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchate

After Ukraine was declared independent on August 24, 1991, Filaret changed his attitude towards the possible autocephalous status of Ukrainian Orthodoxy. In October 1991, the Hierarchical Council of Ukrainian Orthodox Church requested the Russian Orthodox Church to grant full canonical autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In March-April 1992, the Hierarchical Council of the Russian Orthodox Church refused to grant this autocephaly and demanded Filaret leave his position quietly. Filaret at the council swore to obey. However, upon his return from Moscow to Kiev, he proclaimed that the oath was given under pressure, and thus invalid, and he would stay on. At the same time, most of the high-ranking clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church refused to follow Filaret and in June, 1992, the Russian Orthodox Church, unable to prevent the creation of what it viewed as a "schismatic church" in independent Ukraine, helped to organize a synod in Kharkiv of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, where Filaret was ousted. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church also retained the autonomous status granted to it in 1990 under the eclectical link to the Patriarch of Moscow.

Filaret initiated the creation of a new Ukrainian Church through the separation of the ROC's Ukrainian Metropolitan's see from the Moscow Patriarchate. The creation of the new church was proclaimed on June 25, 1992 under the name of the "Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kiev Patriarchate" via unilateral changing of the ecclesiastical link from the Moscow Patriarch to the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, another recently revived church in Ukraine, however with no clear standing within the Orthodox communion. In addition to the lack of a proper procedure in the creation of the Church, its patriarchal status was simply assumed unilaterally as well.

With the support three bishops of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Filaret entered into a short-lived union with the latter. Initially, he did not become the formal leader of the church, but became its de-facto ruler under the ailing Patriarch Mstyslav and, from 1993 Patriarch Volodymyr. In July 1995, upon the death of Patriarch Volodymyr, Filaret was elected head of the UOC-KP.

Patriarch Filaret currently leads the drive for his church to become a single Ukrainian national church. His attempts to gain a canonical recognition for his church remain unsuccessful to this day.


* Patriarch Filaret is alleged to have a common-law wife (Yevgeniya Petrovna Rodionova) and children in contravention of his monastic vows.Ru icon " [ UOC-KP after Yevgenia Petrovna, or the celibacy vow.] " in "Kievskiy Telegraf", April 17-23, 2000 and references thereof: "Nezavisimost", "Kievskiye Vedomosti."
The number of children Filaret allegedly fathered varies depending on the source. Some sources mention two daughters, some mention that he also had a son. His daughter Vera has been interviewed by several Ukrainian and Russian newspapers] .
* There were rumors that Filaret has been recruited in the past as a KGB agent code-named "Antonov","Ogonyok" N45, 48-49 (1991)] Filaret, when confronted a question about this fact, refused to explicitly deny icon [ Online chat with Patriarch Filaret] ] )
* Several church hierarchs of UOC and UAOC accused Filaret for improper financial dealings"The monk Filaret not only did not obey the Church ban as he should have as a believer, and did not repent, but through falsification took into his sole possession all financial assets of the UOC. Under the auspices of the Churches' unification the robbery of all Orthodox believers of Ukraine by Filaret took place."
The letter signed by UAOC and UOC hierarchs published in "Holos Ukrayiny", May 29, 1997]
*Also, a statement condemning Filaret for corruption and former connection with the Soviet authorities and KGB was issued by prominent Ukrainian political figures, members of the Verkhovna Rada, who were formerly imprisoned by the Soviet regime for their pro-Ukrainian political views."It is not an accident that the exarch of the Ukrainian Church Metropolitan Filaret seeks through any means a way to change his political slogans, in order to secure the support of the new government and maintain his corrupt system of church control... It was Metropolitan Filaret (Denysenko) who was closely connected with the KGB and who, in order to keep the CPSU powers, happily served the godless government not in the interest of the church, but in the interest of his career and in order to maintain full control of the Ukrainian church in his own hands. This repels people from the church, disqualifies the missionary work of the honest clergy, deepens the hatred and promotes the schism."
The statement of January 20, 1992, cosigned by Vyacheslav Chornovil, Serhiy Holovatyi, Ivan Boiko and others (26 signatories)]
*On June 11, 1992, the Hierarchical Council of the Russian Orthodox Church defrocked Filaret and later (1997) ROC excommunicated Filaret and put him under anathema claiming his actions constituted a schism, a major crime in the Eastern Orthodoxy. Filaret refused to recognize these acts claiming that such ROC's decisions are not applicable to him since he left it and joined another church.

See also

* History of Christianity in Ukraine


* [ Patriarch of Kyiv and all Rus-Ukraine Filaret] at the Institute of Religion and Society of the Ukrainian Catholic University
*ru icon [ Filaret (Denisenko)] in [ The World of Religions] .

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