UAOC communities move to UOC-KP without waiting for Local Council
About 20 communities of the UAOC in Ternopil region have moved to the UOC-KP or have intended to do so from the beginning of 2015, as reported by Ternopil Diocese.
Moreover, on decree of Archbishop Nestor (Pysyk) of Ternopil, Kremenets and Bucha of the UOC-KP as of 16 May this year, all the UAOC parishes of Berezhany dean’s district were accepted by the UOC-KP.
“It is with fraternal embrace that we welcome the new parishes of the Kyiv Patriarchate: St. Nicholas Church (Berezhany), St Michael the Archangel Church (Posuhiv), St. Nicholas Church (Bozhykiv), the Holy Assumption Church (Kvitkove), the Holy Martyr Paraskeva Church (Voloschyna), the Nativity of the Blessed Theotokos Church (Rybnyky), the Protection Veil of the Blessed Theotokos Church (Kotiv) and other parishes of the region that have already joined or only plan to join the One Local Church,” goes a communique of the press-service of Ternopil diocese of the UOC-KP.
Requests to join the UOC-KP have been filed in Ternopil region by faithful of the UAOC and its priests, deputy chief of administration services of Ternopil diocese UOC-KP Father Oleg Gakh assured RISU journalist.
“This year about 20 parishes in Ternopil region have joined the Kyiv Patriarchate or have intended to do so,” he said. “Currently, 9 of them have been already issued necessary documents. 7 of them are in Berezhany district, 2 in Lanivtsi. More than 10 parishes are in the process of affiliation. People understand that the One Local Church is the factor that can protect from external aggression.”
These seven communities in Berezhany district are the above dean’s district of the UAOC.
“Yes, all communities of Berezhany region have moved, but the dean’s district remains a separate unit, says Dean Fr Myola Zorianyy, “People have been asking to join the Kyiv Patriarchate for along time. They asked when it would happen.”
According to the Dean, all of them moved willingly, with a desire to unite the Church. At the same time, Fr. Mykhailo Zorianyy did not answer RISU journalist’s question about the reaction in the UAOC to transition and whether they called after the transition. When hearing these questions, the priest got into a fuss and advised the journalist to come to him, pray and participate in worship. He was also advised to ask people personally, and eventually simply hang up.
Father Andriy Kurylo, pastor of Kamyanky village Pidvolochysk region, explained in detail the reasons of affiliation of the UAOC parishes with the UOC-KP. Together with the community, he entered the Kyiv Patriarchate jurisdiction over 2 years ago.
“It was the decision of the community which comprises more than 700 people. We were urged by this desire for unity and establishment of the local church. People are happy – they are not steering clear of problems of Church and State,” said the priest.
Andriy Kurylo also commented on lengthy process of unification of Orthodox confessions.
“I think it cannot be otherwise, as it is a difficult process. Every person should come to this decision independently. This process is difficult, but steady.”
According to Fr. Oleg Gakh, Ternopil region comprises approximately 50 UAOC communities that have not merged with the UOC-KP.
On the contrary, Ternopil dean of the UAOC Anatoly Zaliznytskyy believes that adjoining the UAOC communities to the UOC-KP as it is happens now is not the model of the union of two churches.
“The unification should not proceed like this. The late Bishop Mefodiy (Kudriakov) said that when the elder ones departed, the younger priests would be able to unite the Church,” said Fr. A. Zaliznytskyy. “But on the last Synod, the UOC-KP actually delivered an ultimatum that it is the UAOC who has to adjoin them. Even the locum tenens of the patriarchal throne Metropolitan Makariy (Maletich) said there will be no such unification.”
As for the transition of a whole dean’s district of Berezhany, the Ternopil UAOC Dean said he did not understand it.
“I know Father Mykolai well enough. I know him well He is a decent priest, a family man, he is a really good pastor. But I do not understand his motives,” continues Fr. Zaliznytskyy.
Already on 4-5 June 2015, the Local Council of the UAOC will be held, where the Church shall make itself clear about unification with UOC-KP. According to Fr. Zaliznytskyy, all the clergy of UAOC and the UOC-KP should wait for the decision of the Council rather than arrange takeover of one by the other.
“Everyone will laugh, such actions are ridiculous, and they are enough to make a cat laugh. Check out how the ROC and ROCOR were united although they had been at enmity. We have to sit together, pray that God gave us wisdom, celebrate the liturgy – all that brings together and resolve these issues,” argues the dean.
By the way, according to Fr. Zaliznytskyy, a part of those priests, who moved into the UOC-KP without waiting for the Council, had happened to change denominations several times.
“This does not apply to Berezhany dean’s district. But those who were the first to join, they had been everywhere, in the Russian Church, in the Kyiv Patriarchate and in the UAOC,” concludes the Dean.