"It is still too early to look for global changes in Ukrainian Orthodoxy, but the process is underway and the next wave is coming," - Metropolitan Epifaniy

29.07.2021, 14:23
"We have been under spiritual occupation for three centuries. Over the past decades, we have struggled. And now – the culmination, the end of our struggle – Tomos and autocephaly. Now we are changing."

The Head of the OCU noted this in a conversation with LIGA.net.

Gradually, Metropolitan Epifaniy says, the OCU should move away from Imperial ideologies. He gives an example of how deeply Russia has penetrated church life: "We are preparing a calendar reform. To leave mostly Ukrainian Saints in it. If we look at the calendar of the Romanian or Bulgarian church, we are unlikely to find Saints of the Russian Orthodox church there. And we have. These are remnants of imperial ideology. Gradually, we are moving away from this and trying to change the face of orthodoxy. So that it becomes truly Ukrainian orthodoxy, and not Russian."

Epifaniy does not maintain relations with Metropolitan Onufriy of the UOC-MP. Most likely, there is a "quiet war" between them – for parishes in the regions and the minds of parishioners. This is a slow but successful process, says Epifaniy. Over 2.5 years, about 700 parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate have passed under the jurisdiction of the OCU (in total, the OCU has about 7,000 parishes). This process continues invisibly on the ground and will continue to strengthen until all Ukrainian orthodoxy is united within the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Already, the number of parishioners of the OCU is two and a half times higher than that of the UOC-MP. For the year-plus 10%.

"There are many communities that do not advertise this, but gradually make decisions, then submit documents for registration. But there are many obstacles in this direction. And from some administrations that did not re-register in time. Some politicians interfere, bring young people, arrange artificial fights, and then show the whole world that they are seizing churches. But this is not true," says Metropolitan Epifaniy.

Many people are still in the fog. They have the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, but it is Ukrainian only in name, not in essence. We are doing everything possible to ensure that the process of joining the OCU takes place peacefully, voluntarily and in the legal field. MP files lawsuits in all communities that have moved in these two years. We won almost all of them," says Epifaniy.

According to the law, every community has the right to self-determination. And now, according to the Primate of the OCU, the next wave is maturing.

The latest KIIS poll showed that the number of supporters of the OCU increased by 10% over the year. And about half of the supporters of the UOC-MP have a positive attitude to the visit of Patriarch Bartholomew to Ukraine: "this means that even among the supporters of the UOC-MP there are those who are ready. Over time, it will be such an explosion. New wave. And they will join the OCU," Metropolitan Epifaniy believes.