The struggle for church assets and believers (mostly their political affiliation) within Ukraine’s non-canonical curches is on-going and it doesn’t appear that any end is within sight.
On August 9th, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky refused to sign a joint statement with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. The reason for this was disagreement, but it was not indicated what the disagreement related to.
Approximately two months earlier, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said that the Kiev Patriarchate has never been on Ukrainian territory and is currently not there either.
“The so-called “Patriarchate of Kiev” does not exist and never existed,” said Bartholomew.
He added that granting Ukraine autocephaly is not related to politics and is associated with concern due to the fact that the Ukrainian side “could not enjoy complete freedom from external influences.”
Naturally, his repeated meetings with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko show that there were ‘no politics’ behind the decision. His calls that “Mother Church” may “adopt back” its “wayward Ukrainian children,” also clearly means that the Ukrainian church is free from external influence, except Istanbul’s.
This also is reinforced by indications that Bartholomew appears to be losing his authority. Earlier, the Vicar of the Patriarch of Antioch and the whole East, Bishop Erzurum Kais admitted that the Pan-Orthodox Council could take place without the Patriarch of Bartholomew of Constantinople.
According to the representative of the Antiochian Patriarchate, they recognize the Patriarch of Constantinople, but at present he is making a mistake regarding the situation in Ukraine.
“And if all Orthodox Churches assemble a Council without him and decide on the deposition of the Primate of Constantinople, then this is possible,” said Kais.
Earlier, the head of the non-canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP) Filaret refused to follow the conditions of the tomos granted by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in January 2019. With the decision, the two churches united at the Council of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, where they elected the so-called Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU).
“An association of one Orthodox Church of Ukraine has been created. Based on this association, the Patriarch of Constantinople gave us a tomos about autocephaly. But we at the Council did not know its contents. We learned of them after the merger.
If we knew the contents of this tomos, then we would not agree to such a tomos,” Filaret said. He complained that the tomos puts the UOC in strict dependence on Constantinople.
Recently, Filaret has been calling for followers to “rebel” against the Patriarch of the OCU – Metropolitan Epiphanius.
His appeal was published in the official Facebook group named “For the Ukrainian church.”
“I appeal to you. I served you for 53 years in the cathedral, did not miss a single liturgy, not a single ministry. Therefore, I ask you to protect the Kiev Patriarchate first and protect me as a patriarch … Address the authorities, protest. But you need to protest against Epiphanius, because everything is done under his control,” Filaret said.
It appears that the Ukrainian security services are also assisting in the persecution of clerics that are not part of the OCU.
Про що розповів протоієрей Віктор Земляний, керівник відділу з питань міжконфесійного врегулювання при Рівненській єпархії УПЦ відразу після допиту в СБУ?
Posted by РІВНЕ. Голос Церкви. on Monday, August 5, 2019
A cleric of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), Viktor Terestris, was questioned by the SBU for the second time, being accused of inciting religious hatred, as he explains in the above video.
Earlier, the priest was charged with high treason and the distribution of so-called illegal literature.
In December 2018, in the framework of criminal cases of high treason and inciting religious hatred, 20, and after a while another 14 priests of the Rivne diocese were questioned. Terestris is also a priest of the Rivne diocese.
Cases of pressure on the clergy of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church became more frequent after the creation of a new government-backed church structure – the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU).
And due to the OCU’s straight up failure in putting the churches of the UOC-KP and MP under their control, there are reports of a “black registrar,” under regional authorities, which are used, by way of false documents to re-register communities of the canonical church to the jurisdiction of the “independent” OCU, according to the UOC-MP’s Chairman Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovarsky.
“A phenomenon has emerged as black registrars. Specialists who, under the Regional State Administration illegally, on the basis of fake and forged documents, reregister our communities in the jurisdiction of the OCU,” Metropolitan Anthony said.
Ho noted that the first step towards religious reconciliation in Ukraine should be just the return of the ‘captured temples’.
“The question is fundamental, the fate of ordinary people who were kicked out of their native churches onto the street is behind the problem,” Metropolitan Anthony explained.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Poroshenko Uses Newly-Created ‘Independent Orthodox Church’ In Political Game Against Zelensky: Kiev Patriarchate
- New ‘Border Wall’, Radical Nationalists In Action, Pressure On Orthodox Church And Other ‘Ordinary News’ From Ukraine