You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
The imminence of bestowal of the Tomos of autocephaly on the Ukrainian Church by Constantinople urges certain forces to resort to very extravagant acts. First of all, we are talking about a primitive lie, without which it is impossible to create an alternative reality.
The UOC-MP is known to have a wing of radical supporters of retaining Ukraine in the church fold of Moscow, and the objective of these people is to create the alternative reality in which the whole world is opposed to Ukrainian autocephaly, Ukrainians, with the exception of a small group of fringe elements, are standing for the UOC-MP as part of the Russian Orthodox Church, only nationalists and radicals are striving for autocephaly who, immediately after the provision of the Tomos, will join the Uniates and will proceed to shedding blood of the canonical Orthodox believers.
But this artificial picture begins to fail.
The delegation of the UOC-MP went to Istanbul to demand that the so-called non-interference of the Patriarch of Constantinople in Ukrainian affairs. Six hours of sitting, talking, finally offered their audience almost victorious statements: the Patriarch of Constantinople promised us not to legalize the schism, the text of the Tomos had not been written yet, the technology to deal with the split had not yet been developed, there would be no interference in the affairs of the UOC (and in fact, the ROC), but only fraternal help in somewhat incomprehensible perspective. The main sponsor of the voyage, Mr. Novynsky said that everything went fine. The main interpreter of the UOC MP, Fr Mykolai Danilevich said: “We are satisfied with the visit and communication.”
Thereafter, Metropolitan Onufriy of Kyiv gathered the bishops in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra to summarize the visit (again, he could do it only from words of those who had been to Istanbul):
“The bishops heard the message of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufriy and permanent members of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the meeting of the UOC delegation with His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, and members of the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, held on June 23 in Istanbul, in particular, it was reported that the Patriarchate of Constantinople denied the information that the canonical mechanism of overcoming the split in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been allegedly finally agreed, and the text of the Tomos of autocephaly had been developed for Ukraine. However, the bishops of the Patriarchate of Constantinople testified their Church's readiness to join the process of overcoming the Ukrainian church split in consultation with fraternal Local Orthodox Churches. To this end, the delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople will meet in the near future with representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church.”
Then a standard propaganda campaign followed saying like “politicians and the media are overwhelmed, and we will tell you all the truth now”. Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk in an interview with the news agency Romfea reassured all the Russophiles: “Patriarch Bartholomew promised not to legalize the split.”
And suddenly something incomprehensible happened: at the memorial service to mark the forty days after repose of Metropolitan Evangel of Perga, Patriarch Bartholomew said that the Mother Church will fight for the ultimate solution of the church issue in Ukraine, and that Constantinople had never passed the territory of Ukraine to anyone for a lifetime.
To say that some people had a shock is not to say anything. Key propagandists were silent for almost a day.
Suddenly, the odious site Strana.ua posted a commentary by archpriest Oleg Tochynsky, in which he, without restraining himself, said rather insulting words in the address of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (well, one can understand this disappointment), but, among other things, he said a very funny word: “The new statement by Patriarch Bartholomew suggest certain thoughts. First of all, it does not quite fit into the results of the recent visit of the delegation of the UOC to Phanar, following which several very serious statements from the first persons of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church were made.”
No, dear father. This is not the statement made by Patriarch Bartholomew which does not fit in the “results” of the visit of the UOC-MP episcopate to Istanbul. It is their interpretation of the results and the imperative to assure their faithful at any price that there is no betrayal, “They shall not pass,” “the armor is strong and our tanks are fast” - do not fit into the real results of this trip. Which, unfortunately, were somewhat unpleasant for the UOC-MP. In fact, they were so unpleasant that no joint statement was ever released. But one should not think that in Constantinople they are not following (and very attentively) all the comments made by the representatives of the UOC-MP in relation to the current events and cannot tell the truth from the lie.
And how much of this, let's say, lies had been said previously? The faithful continued to believe just because they are faithful. And the realities grew more and more at variance with that artificial image of the full support of the UOC-MP by universal Orthodoxy. And what shock will these believers will have when it becomes clear that there is no when it becomes clear that there are no "11 churches against autocephaly, 3 undecided”? That it is all a banal manipulation that has nothing to do with the facts? I wonder whom the faithful will ask the question “what's going on?” - to Constantinople, which, as you seem, “does not fit” into their imagination?
Maybe it's still worth looking at reality? Listen at least to the words of your own bishop, Metropolitan Sofroniy of Cherkasy:
“Dear bishops, I know that many of you have the same situation as I have in the dioceses (when more than half of the laity and priests in the diocese oppose the subordination to the Russian Orthodox Church - T.D.). I cannot help but notice these sentiments, and I am astonished, dear bishops, that you ignore these sentiments in our Church.”
Finally, give the floor to your pro-autocephalous parishioners and clergymen. And to stop lying – both to yourselves and the whole world about what is really happening in Ukraine. It is easier to live in truth, isn’t it?