“Shortly after the celebration of the 90th anniversary of Metropolitan Nikodim (Rusnaka) of Kharkiv and Bohodukhiv, he will resign and the Kharkiv cathedra of UOC-MP together with the place in the Holy Synod will be taken …by Metropolitan Ilarion (Alfeiev), the right hand of Patriarch Kirill and head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.” This possible scenario was published by the web site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate with reference to “several informed sources.”
According to the web site, when he is appointed Metropolitan of Kharkiv, Metropolitan Ilarion will automatically become a member of the Holy Synod of UOC-MP [Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate] and a nearly unopposed successor of Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sabodan). As a permanent member of the Kyivan Synod, he will actually play a leading role in decision taking and will block everything which is not to Patriarch Kirill’s liking, influence the cadres policy and, consequently, the bishops of UOC. “This development would reduce considerably the influence of Archbishop Oleksandr (Drabynko), the secretary of the head of UOC-MP and its informal manager, which would also be conducive to transformation of the independence of UOC into fiction,” reads the article.
The authors mention reasons why the Kyivan seat cannot be taken by the aspirants, who have been most probable until now, namely, Metropolitan Ahafangel of Odesa, Metropolitan Ilarion of Donetsk, Archbishop Pavel, who is the Superior of the Cave Monastery, Metropolitan Onufrii of Bukovyna. “Perhaps, the patriarchate came to the conclusion that any Ukrainian on the Kyivan seat sooner or later develops love for Ukraine, which is very difficult to combine with the service to the “Russian world.” Therefore, the plan appeared to appoint a trustworthy Russian as Metropolitan of Kyiv of the Moscow Patriarchate,” stressed the report.