OCU may send priests abroad to serve refugees, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch
"According to the Tomos, the OCU cannot have parishes abroad. But they can send his clergy to the local metropolitan. So who should think about it? Should we really come (to the OCU – Ed.) and say: "Give us your priests"? Such issues need to be resolved through direct contact with local hierarchs because the situation is different in different countries, and there is no template," said Bishop Michael of Comana.
He added that this process should be coordinated by the local hierarch abroad.
"... if a priest is being sent, the community must provide for him. Or he has to go to work there and provide for himself. This is a very common practice in Europe (when a priest, in addition to the church ministry, still has to work). After all, a priest is also a person with needs, especially if he is married and has a family. Unfortunately, there are no funds that would support the clergy," said the bishop of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
He advised on how to solve the problem of the shortage of priests for refugees abroad.
"... so we need human resources. Where can we get them? If there is a community, people feel the need, they come to the local bishop and ask to organize them and give them a priest. The bishop asks, "Where can I get one for you?" "We have them in Ukraine". Thereafter, it is necessary to appeal to Kyiv so that this priest is sent to the Metropolitan, whose Metropolia needs the service of a Ukrainian-speaking priest. Do you understand? In addition, a parishioner who is located on the territory of another Metropolia automatically becomes the spiritual child of the local bishop. So, he is not loyal to the OCU, so to speak, a serf, he is an Orthodox parishioner of the local Orthodox Church on the territory in which he found himself. And there are many Orthodox parishes in other countries," said the Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch.