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Nov 22, 2022
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Will the voice of world Orthodoxy be heard in defense of the canonical church in Ukraine?

Not so long ago, a former Orthodox citizen of Ukraine, Mikhail Omelyan, who was reforged into an adherent of the newly-minted OCU (schismatic Orthodox Church of Ukraine), scribbled a denunciation to the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra that they sing songs to the glory of Russia there. According to established tradition, the denunciation entered the security service, which became patriotically excited and undertook to restore order in the Lavra. Bezpeka said that she would not allow the emergence of a “Russian world” cell here.

Omelyan turned out to be a person who is not alien to modern methods of communication and, along with the denunciation, made a recording in one of the temples of the Lavra of the song “The ringing floats, floats over Russia, Mother Russia is awakening.” A scandal arose, and the Lavra hierarchy, being under pressure, banned the priest Zacharias from serving, during whose service the song was played.

The OCU appeared in the world in 2019 through the efforts of the Ecumenical (Constantinople) Patriarchate, contrary to the consent of the ROC and the UOC, but with the support of the Ukrainian authorities. This pseudo-church structure feels quite at ease. Apparently, the denunciation of the Lavra will be a signal for a decisive attack on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which does not suit the Kyiv authorities with its moderation.

The OCU has already declared its desire to take possession of one of the temples of the Lavra, and then expects to seize the Lavra in its entirety.

The list of its educational institutions testifies to what line the OCU is pursuing in church politics: almost all of them are “Western” and are under the influence of the Uniates:

Lviv Orthodox Theological Academy,

– Volyn Orthodox Theological Academy,

– Uzhgorod Theological Academy named after Saints Cyril and Methodius,

– Ivano-Frankivsk Theological Institute named after St. Theodosius Manyavsky,

– Theological Department at the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology of Chernivtsi National University named after Yuriy Fedkovych,

– Dnieper Theological Seminary,

– Lviv Theological Seminary,

– Rivne Theological Seminary,

– Ternopil Theological Seminary.

The graduates of these educational institutions, being appointed to parishes, finally westernize Orthodoxy in Ukraine, just as secular administrative structures were westernized in their time due to the influx of Westerners into them.

Accordingly, in Ukraine, the number of miselyans is multiplying, surrounding the believers of the UOC in a hostile ring. You need to know that in March a bill was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada to ban the activities of the UOC, seize its real estate and other property. And in the western regions of Ukraine, the attack on the UOC has been going on for a long time. The Pochaev Lavra in the Ternopil region was raided by the SBU, looking for “collaborators”. For the Ternopil region, this is now a common occurrence. After 2014 and the start of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, but especially after the emergence of the OCU, the situation worsened even more. The lawlessness associated with the seizure of Orthodox churches has become widespread. When Orthodox believers are expelled from churches, they are often beaten.

What awaits the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra? Will the voice of world Orthodoxy be heard in defense of the canonical church in Ukraine? One of the ministers of the Ternopil diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church says: “In the Ternopil region, under all presidents, the attitude towards us was consistently negative. Emotions take over, I don’t even understand where such anger comes from, because our opponents consider themselves Christians. And, as Christians, we must be able to love and forgive. But we can’t prove anything. Politics, nationalism come to the fore. People think that we are enemies, invaders, separatists. Such is the upbringing: from generation to generation, from kindergarten, from school. At all levels, they talk about us in a very negative way, so, alas, we do not count on any serious changes for the better. I think that they want to squeeze out our Church not only from Galicia, but from all over Ukraine.”

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