Religious community of OCU created in Donbass
In Donbas, the process of registration of yet another religious community of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine has begun. At this time, a community in Volnovakha is planning to join the unified local Church, which is headed by the Abbot of the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Hegumen Fr Makariy. It was reported by the press service of the regional state administration.
The Church, where Fr Makariy conducts the service, was consecrated in 2018, it was built in honor of the soldiers of the 51st separate mechanized brigade, who died at this place due to shelling by militants in 2014. Now the temple is the center of the community of the OCU in Volnovakha and nearby settlements.
"Among the clergy, it is customary to assess the influence of their Church by the number of baptisms and weddings. If at first, we baptized one child for two or three months, now five or six children are brought to us every month. More people come and get married. Of course, these are small numbers, but people are beginning to get used to the Ukrainian Church, to come to it, and this is already significant progress," he says.
According to the rector of the temple, their temple is very non-standard for the East of Ukraine. It is made entirely of wood, services are held exclusively in Ukrainian. Father Makariy says that initially, the inhabitants of Volnovakha were distrustful of the new religious community, but over time they got used to it and began to treat it more loyally.
"The most important thing that everyone needs to understand is that we are all Orthodox, we have nothing to share. We have never had any conflicts with either the Kyiv or Moscow Patriarchates, because, in fact, we profess the same faith, only the clothes of the priests and the language of the sermons are different. Therefore, we quickly found a common language with the locals. I really want to make the temple not only a place where you can pray to God but also a place where you can spend time with your family. On the territory of the temple, a playground was built, a small square was laid out, we make the temple attractive not only for believers but also for guests of the city, every citizen," the priest stressed.
Father Makariy is convinced that Ukraine needs to develop the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, especially in the Eastern regions.
"The state will always be the body of the people, and the Church will be its soul. Faith teaches us to be kinder to each other, to respond to the needs of others and to help others in trouble. Passing through the region, I repeatedly saw very beautiful, majestic, but empty churches. Our Church, though not so rich in history, people come to it, bring with them their relatives and friends. I am convinced that if the Orthodox Church of Ukraine had existed for twenty years if it had operated in the Donetsk region until 2014, there would never have been an armed conflict. For the Church consolidates society and must resolve all existing conflicts, " said Fr Makariy.
The priest has big plans for the development of the Church in which he serves. In addition to purely religious work, the OCU engages in social activities.
According to Fr Makariy, this year an experiment on learning foreign languages for children was launched. The Church pays teachers for children's classes through donations, now three groups of 20 children study English in their free time.
Now the rector of the Church and parishioners are developing other small humanitarian projects for the residents of Volnovakha and surrounding villages.