Who is he? In memoriam of His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr
The Primate of one of the largest Orthodox Churches in the world simply sits in the corner on an old stool and talks with us about life quietly and without haste.
It looks like an ordinary grandfather from a Ukrainian village resorted to memories.
- Did you have a dream of life? - we asked.
- Yes, I did.
- Did it come true?
- Yes, it did.
- And what was it?
- It’s a trade secret, he smiles.
He had taken this secret with him in the kingdom of heaven.
I’ve got lot of questions about who he was.
Who was he really?
For some, he was ‘a Moscow clergyman’ and will remain so. For others, he was a nationalist in a cassock, an autocephalist and a traitor of the ideas of Russian world. There were rumors about his odious surroundings and apartment scandals and more of something worse...
There were accusations related to the environment.
I've heard them many times.
But I also know that once Apostle Paul was nearly kicked out by zealots towards law (by the way, those believing in Christ) from the early church through ridiculous charges. And St. John Chrysostom was forced out from the chair by bishops and sent into exile, where he died, having caught malaria.
How are the people of his retinue behaving now, after the death of His Beatitude Volodmyr? As ordinary people do. They are crying, keeping silent, praying, coming to say goodbye to him, but also dancing on his grave, fighting for power, fearful of losing influence, rubbing their hands.
As usual, people are people...
Actually, there was nothing to expect from them.
It seems to me that I’ve understood who was His Beatitude Volodymyr ...
He was a man who could get an envelope tightly packed with dollars from a benefactor, and the same evening give it to the family of believers from Chernivtsi, whose child was on chemotherapy in Kyiv Oncology Center, without tearing the envelope open.
He loved to help people and often did it.
He would lovingly, tenderly and with his gentle humor answer to drunken young men, who at Easter addressed him not ‘Your Beatitude’, but ‘listen, grandfather’...
He would shock the personnel of the Patriarch of Moscow by walking in Lavra alone, talking with anyone who would address him, without the State Security Service, armored limousines and other attributes of political orthodoxy.
He never wore expensive watches. And when Metropolitan Onufriy of Chernivtsi and Bukovyna, current locum tenens, known for his asceticism, entered his room at the Metropolis, he said “Oh, this cell is for me...” His Beatitude Volodymyr never sought money and was personally a very humble man...
His career was foreseen by Saint Laurentius of Chernihiv and a clairvoyant nun from the monastery next to his village. The two of his brides died, thus defining his way to monasticism.
In the most difficult moment for the Ukrainian Orthodoxy he saved the situation in fact, not allowing religious war that might occur in the early nineties.
So, if we take the modern Russian paradigm, he was a ‘Ukrainian nationalist’. He collected various editions of ‘Kobzar’ by Taras Shevchenko, wore embroidered shirts and loved his people, his land and his country. He loved even the special Orthodox chants, resembling Ukrainian folk songs sung in his village ... he was never rude, he was always correct and mild in communication. But first and foremost he was a Christian. And in the second place he was a Ukrainian. Christ mastered everything in him, including love of his country. This is a case where the love of God, country, nation and people were in proper harmony.
He was clairvoyant. Once in the midst of the reign of Viktor Yanukovych reporters asked him:
- Look at the situation now, pro-Russian forces came to power, there will be no autocephalous church and it is not at all clear what will happen to the country...
- When the Soviet Union collapsed, no one expected that it is possible in principle. Everybody lived in one country up to the August coup and could not even think that it will cease to exist. Only a few weeks and the country ceased to exist. God can change everything in a week, literally everything. Remember this.
Many recalled it... in February.
At least for myself I understood who this person was and who lived with us all these years side by side...
It was the first orthodox saint of the new country.
He is the one who will pray for Ukraine and for all of us, standing directly at the throne of God, since July 5, 2014.