THE UNIFICATION COUNCIL OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF UKRAINE, 15 DECEMBER 2018
Keywords:the Orthodox Church, Unification Council, Tomos, autocephaly, Epiphanius Dumenko
The article deals with the establishing of the Local Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which took place in December 2018. The revolution of dignity and subsequent Russian armed aggression led to the intensification of the Ukrainian autocephalous movement. The President, the Parliament, the bishops of the UOC-KP, the UAOC, and about ten bishops of the UOC-MP appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarch to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. On October 9-11, 2018, the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate confirmed the resolution to start the procedure of granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, considered appeals and carried out canonical rehabilitation of UOC-KP and UAOC leaders Filaret Denysenko and Makariy Maletych, and restored the Patriarch’s stauropegia as the representation to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Kyiv and repealed the act of 1686.
On 15 December, before the unification council started, the UOC-KP and the UAOC held separate meetings during which they both dissolved themselves, which delayed the beginning of the unification council. Every bishop was to bring two people to vote. In the second round, laity and priests did not vote, only bishops. Metropolitan Mykhaiil Zinkevych was forced to withdraw his candidacy during the council before the final vote. In the first round, the score of the three candidates was: Mykhail Zinkevych: 38; Symeon Shostatskyi: 56; Epiphanius Dumenko: 81. In the secomd round, the votes of bishops were as follows: Symeon: 28; Epiphanius: 36.
At the Unification Council on December 15, 2018, the establishment of the OCU was announced, its charter was approved and Metropolitan Epiphanius was elected as the Primate. On January 6, 2019, a Tomos on the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church was granted to him in Constantinople.