UOC-KP Synod criticizes UOC (MP) leaders: still silent on Russian aggression against Ukraine
On December 13, 2014, a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by the Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine Filaret was held at the Synodal Hall of the Kyiv patriarchate.
Members of the Synod heard the message of Patriarch Filaretof Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine on the state of relations with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).
The Holy Synod of the UOC-KP states that the dialogue with the Kyiv Patriarchate on overcoming the church dissent and the establishmentof the unified national church in Ukraine has not yet started because of categorical unwillingness of the new leadership of the UOC (MP).
The UOC-KP also notes that the Kyiv Patriarchate is open and ready for dialogue and expects reciprocal steps by the UOC (MP).
The Synod noted as a positive event the signing by the orthodox hierarchs of theMemorandum of Rivneon unified Ukraineand the one unified Local Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The UOC-KP regrets that through the pressure of the UOC (MP) leaders MetropolitansVarfolomiy and Anatoly withdrew their signatures to the Memorandum. The Kyiv Patriarchate emphasizes that it has consistently opposed the use of violence or seizure of churches, and the change of jurisdiction by the UOC (MP) parishes is being carried out in accordance with the laws of Ukraine and parish statutes, so the accusations against the Kyiv Patriarchate of the alleged ‘seizure of churches’ are groundless.
The Holy Synod of the UOC-KP decided to “recognize the stance of the new leadership of the UOC (MP) that has not yet officially condemned the Russian aggression against Ukraine and omits to properly react to facts of support of anti-Ukrainian activitiesby their clergy as the one that incites enmity and controversy in the Ukrainian community”.
“The new leadership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) did not pay much attention to the investigation of numerous cases of participationof their own clergy in the activities of the Kremlin-backed separatists and terrorists, offeringthem overt support and blessing.
In particular, there has been no proper evaluation to provocative anti-Ukrainian sermon of Bishop Longuin (Zhar)of Banchen, to the fact of bestowing blessing by Metropolitan Ioanikiy (Kobzev) on terrorist leader of the so-called LuhanskPeople’s Republic Plotnitsky during his ‘inauguration’and numerous facts of sanctifying and blessing of troops, equipment and banners of the terrorists. On the contrary, with the blessing of the leadership of the UOC (MP), the high church awards were bestowed on priests DimitrySidor from Transcarpathia (second cross with decorations) and OlexandrAvdyuhin from Lugansk (Order of Nestor the Chronicler)known for their support of separatism.
Being outraged by the omissions of the new leadership of the UOC (MP) to overcome the existing church division, lack of conviction on their part to condemn Russian military aggression against Ukraine, numerous facts of support by the UOC (MP) clergy, especially in Donbas, of separatists and terrorists, to which the UOC (MP) is not responding properly, some parishes of the UOC (MP), whose number is growing, have made decision to move under the jurisdiction of the UOC-KP according to the Law of Ukraine and their own statutes. Such solutions have been wrongly declared ‘seizure’ by the UOC (MP) leaders, who state that Kyiv Patriarchate is allegedly provoking religious hatred,”reads Journal №31 of the Holy Synod of the UOC-KP.