UOC (MP) twisted facts three times about attitude of Athos to OCU
The official website of the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate spread the news "Kinot of the Holy Mountain appealed to the Greek Foreign Ministry to protect Mount Athos from provocations of Ukrainian schismatics", which provided readers with incomplete information about the incident, thus disorienting the readers. This practice of reporting on the events related to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine has become traditional for the website of the UOC-MP, Religion in Ukraine reports.
Referring to the Greek news Agency Romfea, the website of the UOC-MP writes that the "Kinot of Holy Mount Athos appealed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece George Katrugalos with a strong protest in connection with the visit of the delegation of the newly created "OCU" to the Holy Mountain".
It is referred to the April 2019 visit of a delegation of the OCU led by Metropolitan Mykhailo Zinkevych — they stayed on Mount Athos where, among other things, they took a picture with the flags of Ukraine and sang Ukraine's national anthem. This practice is common among pilgrims — on the internet one can find many photos from Mount Athos where pilgrims unfold the flags of their countries, thus featuring the identity of their people at this place of prayer. However, this is not approved by the monks of Athos, who see in such actions the introduction of the secular spirit to the peninsula of prayer.
"Such an action of this "Metropolitan", the website of the UOC-MP cites the Greek publication, although there are no quotation marks in the original publication, "constitutes a violation of article 184 of the Constitution of Athos "All moral, religious, Church, social, nationalist and any other types of propagandist acts are strictly prohibited on the Holy Mountain".
Further, the website of the UOC-MP says that such behavior of the OCU delegation, in the opinion of the Kinot, "is incompatible with hesychastic, spiritual and sacred nature of our Holy Land and its thousand-year tradition, and creates a dangerous precedent for the recurrence of such actions by any party and the incitement of nationalist conflicts in them; it runs completely contrary to the Charter of the Holy Mountain", therefore the Kinot "urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece to take the necessary steps to prevent this in the future, to preserve the sanctity of the Holy Mount Athos".
Thus, the appeal of Athos monks was filed in the UOC (MP) news story as relating solely to the OCU as a "schismatic" structure.
However, on July 4, Executive Director of the Charity Fund Orthodox Heritage of Ukraine on Mount Athos Andriy Us published his comment on this matter in which he noted that, in fact, this appeal of the representatives of Athos to the Minister was related not only to the action of the OCU, but in general to the actions of many pilgrims, in particular, of the Russian Orthodox Church. Andriy Us states that a passage devoted to the OCU was put into spotlight on the larger list of violations of public order by pilgrims on Mount Athos and was further circulated, while "according to the Athos monks, the letter did not refer only to the behavior of pilgrims of the OCU, but that of the others who behave the same way: Russians, Serbs, Moldovans, Romanians...".
Andriy US called the news spread in the Orthodox media "distorted and one-sided". The photos, which he added to his comment, show how the faithful of the Moscow Patriarchate unfold the flags of the "Donetsk People's Republic" and other groups on the Mount Athos.
Despite this, the website of the UOC-MP has not corrected its story. It is characteristic that in February 2019 the website of the UOC-MP also distorted the position of the official Athos on the OCU, and in June 2019 misinformed about the necessity for all Ukrainians going to Athos to obtain certificates from the UOC-MP.
In June 2019, during a pilgrimage to the Athos, clergymen of the OCU concelebrated with the brethren of the Monastery of Xenophontos and received communion in the monastery of Pantokrator. The delegation also visited the monasteries of Iveron, Philotheus, Karakalou, New Esphigmenou monastery, and the Hermitages of St. Elijah and St. Andrew the Fisrt-Called.