A well-known hieromonk, publicist and theologian leaves UOC-MP to join OCU
As noted by Fr. Innokenty, in a comment to Religiyna Pravda, he does not consider his step a transition, because autocephaly was granted not to the newly created Church, but to the existing ancient Metropolia of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which until 2018 was under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church.
"When the UOC clergymen are using the word "transition" to denote acts of recognition of the OCU, it discords with ecclesiological reality," the clergymen explained.
The priest does not criticize or accuse anyone in the Moscow Patriarchate, only expresses regret that some faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church lack an understanding of the inevitability of autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church: "the Orthodox Church of Ukraine was granted a Tomos on autocephaly, and we need to realize that no one will cancel this document, no one will withdraw it, no one will refute it."
According to Fr. Innokenty, any thinking person understands that the recognition of the OCU by local Orthodox Churches will continue.
"Yes, we are only on the path to ecclesiological unity, to full unity, but everyone should realize that we need to go to this unity. We need to want it and do everything to make the Orthodox Church in Ukraine unified," he stressed.
The hieromonk expresses his sincere gratitude to all those "who stood beside me to me all these years, passing on the thousand-year experience of monastic feats in the Pechersk hills", and notes that no prohibitions or canonical punishments were imposed on him by the UOC-MP, so "no one can accuse me of "running away" or "insulting"."
"Among the clergy of the UOC-MP, the majority are decent, kind priests and bishops, but everyone needs to decide with whom they stick together and whether they want to be worthy citizens of their earthly homeland in order to become worthy citizens of the Heavenly Fatherland. I hope that such an understanding between all of us will come in time," Fr Inokentiy said.
The two-week experience of staying in the Orthodox Church of Ukraine assured the father that God's Grace is fully present in this local Church. Concelebrating with the clergy of the Transfiguration Cathedral, as well as with other priests and bishops of the OCU, Fr Innokenty clearly felt the action of the Holy Spirit and also realized that "now I am in my native home, in my Ukrainian family, and I believe that not so much time will pass, and even the most conservative clergy and laity of the UOC-MP will understand that we all need to unite and go further on the path of becoming both the Ukrainian Church and the Ukrainian state."
As the priest notes, "we have had our own local Orthodox Church for more than two years, and it remains only a matter of time before all of us can unite around one Throne and celebrate the Divine Liturgy together."
The reason why the priest turned specifically to the administrator of the Pereyaslav-Vishnevsky Diocese of the OCU, Fr. Innokenty, cites the specifics of this diocese since it was created specifically for clergy who decided to join the OCU from the ranks of the Moscow Patriarchate within the Kyiv region.
Currently, Fr. Innokenty bears obedience in the diocesan Monastery of St. Nektarios of Aegina, and also co-celebrates with the priests of the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Saviour in the Liko-Grad Residential Complex.
Hieromonk Innokenty (Pidtoptany Maksym Vasilyevych) was born on May 25, 1986, in Odessa. In 1993 he entered secondary school No. 27 in the city of Mykolayiv. In 1997, he was transferred to study at the Mykolayiv Municipal collegium. In 2001, he entered the Mykolayiv Polytechnic Technical School, where he graduated with honors in 2004 in the specialty "enterprise economics". In the same year, he entered the Mykolayiv branch of the European University for the Specialty "Banking", which he graduated in 2006 with honors.
In 2004-2006, he was trained at the Military Department of the Mykolayiv Pedagogical University, after which he received the military rank of junior lieutenant of the Reserve.
In 2007, he entered the Kyiv Theological Seminary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and in 2011 he was enrolled in the Kyiv Theological Academy.
On March 15, 2012, with the blessing of His Beatitude Metropolitan Vladimir, he took monastic vows with the name Innocent in honor of St. Innokenty of Kherson. On March 24 of the same year, he was ordained a herodeacon, and on April 7, 2013 – a hieromonk.
In 2015, he graduated from KDA with a PhD in theology, defending his PhD thesis on the topic: "Theological Views of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky)". After graduating from the academy, he was sent to serve in the Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, where he served as an assistant to the Chairman of the Information and Public Relations Department.
In 2018, the book "See the image. Sketches from Life in the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra" was released.
In 2018, he was awarded the staff, in 2019 - a cross with ornaments.
In November 2020, he was sent on indefinite leave for family reasons.
On March 13, 2021, he was accepted as a clergyman of the Pereyaslav-Vishnevsky Diocese of the Orthodox Church in accordance with the submitted request.