Millions of Ukrainian Orthodox abroad are left without the OCU's pastoral care, - expert

14.10.2023, 15:45
Ukraine and world
Millions of Ukrainian Orthodox abroad are left without the OCU's pastoral care, - expert - фото 1
Millions of Ukrainian Orthodox Christians abroad find themselves without support from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and this situation is largely governed by rules outlined in the Tomos

Kateryna Shchotkina explained this in an article for ZN.UA titled "Canonical Quandaries."

The expert elaborated on how the Ukrainian Orthodox Church faces limitations in addressing this situation due to the terms of its autocephaly granted in the Tomos. According to the Tomos, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) does not have the right to establish parishes on the "canonical territory" of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which covers almost all of Western Europe. Additionally, European bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate have been possessive of their exclusive right to provide spiritual care to Ukrainian Orthodox believers.

"In Europe, parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (under the Ecumenical Patriarchate) operate. They perceive us as competitors. There has been resistance from them even before the Tomos, with bishop conferences that included the UOC USA, Greeks, Romanians, and others issuing resolutions stating that we are schismatics and self-proclaimed. Their rhetoric hasn't changed much now. But currently, they accuse us of not having bishops. This is partly true, as we have been without a bishop here since 2019," explained Father Petro Bokanov.

Shchotkina added that since the Ukrainian Orthodox Church received autocephaly in the Tomos, it has chosen to "overlook" the diaspora. According to the author, Ukrainians living in Europe, when privately requesting a priest to be sent to their parish, would receive the sacramental response from the Kyiv Metropolis of the OCU: "Read the Tomos."

"This is the situation: one confession sets boundaries of mercy and pastoral care for another, and the latter, bowing its head, accepts these boundaries, even in times of war. In my opinion, this is an anti-Christian position on both sides," Father Petro added.