Opinion: only Patriarch Filaret will protect Ukrainian faithful in the diaspora – Novinite.com
“We are told that our transition to the jurisdiction of Constantinople will not change anything in the life of our parishes. But this is all a lie,” Ukrainian Orthodox Christian Olga Samulyak told the Ukrainian Canadian Religious Information Bulletin.
There are around 20 million Ukrainians living outside of Ukraine; most of them are Orthodox Christians. However, according to the Autocephaly Tomos, these people no longer belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
People were promised that they would be ruled by Ukrainian hierarchs and that Ukrainian priests would be appointed or retained in their posts. But this is all a lie. The UOC of Canada and the UOC of the United States are entirely dependent on Constantinople. On any matter, including approving their own statutory documents, their hierarchs turn to Istanbul and rush to blame each other in front of Patriarch Bartholomew whenever conflicts arise.
So far, the Church of Constantinople has tolerated the existence of its subordinate Ukrainian Churches and does not hesitate to increase their number. However, the distant future of these Churches is the same as that of the recently abolished Archdiocese of Paris or of the Orthodox Church of Finland, which could be reformed and liquidated in several years. Even an entity as large and self-sufficient as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America depends entirely on Istanbul, as confirmed by the resignation of Archbishop Demetrios and the appointment of Metropolitan Elpidophoros in his place.
The general policy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate is that all “parallel” and “autonomous” structures of the Orthodox Diaspora will be phased out and their communities transferred to one center. Archbishop Elpidophoros will lead this in the United States, Archbishop Makarios will do it in Australia and other hierarchs in Europe. When the situation of the diaspora is aligned with canon law (one city, one bishop, one Church), there will simply be no more positions for Ukrainian bishops.
Finally, with regard to parish life – which rectors will the bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate appoint for Ukrainian parishes in the diaspora? We already have an example – St. Nicholas Church in Valencia, Spain. At first, an unknown man in civilian clothes began to appear among the believers, then he called himself a priest of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and was allowed to exercise his ministry, then he was appointed rector. In addition, no document confirming his dignity of priestly rank was shown to members of the community! And of course, there was nothing Ukrainian about him. The parishioners of Valencia have obtained neither its support, nor simply the participation in their initiatives and cultural traditions, which are, in fact, the very expression of the national identity of any community.
This is how the congregation can receive from Constantinople a “super-canonical” ecclesiastic (perhaps even of Moscow origin!) Speaking Ukrainian, but lose the Ukrainian spirit, resulting from secular customs as well as from memory. of the Holodomor. , the Hundred Celestials killed during the Euromidan Revolution, the heroes of the war in Donbass.
Metropolitan Epiphanes of Kiev and All Ukraine left the parishes of the Kyiv Patriarchate in the Diaspora to themselves, so that they became subordinate to the local bishops of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He also agreed with the appointment of new rectors by the Phanar. Now, when the peace of the congregation is broken and the very community of Valencia asks to replace the priest, he has told Metropolitan Hilarion to take care of the problem. “Isn’t it too late to try to solve the problems of the community on which he has turned his back?” So which parish are we from? – believers wonder. – “The Ecumenical Patriarchate or the UCO?
Another example of ambivalence in the actions of the OCU Hierarchs is their attitude towards the Orthodox churches of Montenegro and Macedonia which have not yet been recognized by Constantinople. In the Kyiv Patriarchate, we have always been in communion with them and concelebrated with the representatives of their clergy. And it was a thoughtful and fully motivated decision by His Holiness Patriarch Filaret. These Churches are the same as our Church has always been. Indeed, they have not yet been recognized, but there is no reason to consider their sacraments invalid. If their sacraments are null and void, were ours too? And if their sacraments are valid, why can’t we concelebrate with them? Sooner or later, time will fix things, the Orthodox world will recognize them as they have recognized us.
What do we have with Epiphanes at the helm? On the one hand, in the Australian city of Newcastle, the OCU parish was ordered not to allow clerics of the Macedonian Orthodox Church to serve in the temple. They say, we are now recognized, and they are not. On the other hand, although secretly from Metropolitan Emmanuel, a member of the clergy of the same “unrecognized” Montenegrin Orthodox Church, Archimandrite Bojan Bojović was admitted to concelebrate the liturgy in the monastery of St. Michael with the golden dome on May 26. . But what is the difference between him and the priest of the Macedonian Orthodox Church in Newcastle? It is difficult to answer, especially since the Phanar has already taken into consideration the call of the Macedonian Church and its recognition seems close.
Patriarch Filaret never taught to juggle the holy canons for political gain; on the contrary, it is he who sticks to it more than the others. And he is completely independent and never betrays the truth. The Kyiv Patriarchate existed and developed successfully without any recognition, as did the fraternal Macedonian and Montenegrin Orthodox Churches.
While Metropolitan Epiphanes is bound by certain obligations to the Greeks, fearing something or simply not knowing what to do, Patriarch Filaret has the vision, status and determination necessary to fight for the future of Orthodox Ukrainians in the country. diaspora and to protect their interests. This is why enemies seek to prevent him from ruling the Church, of which he is the spiritual leader and founder.
At the request of the Greeks, Poroshenko forced Patriarch Filaret to write a refusal of his candidacy before the election of the OCU primate. In the name of independence and recognition of the new Ukrainian Church, Patriarch Filaret gave the “Greek party” a chance. But the promises made to the Patriarch were broken. The Kyiv Patriarchate lost its status and independence, and no recognition by local churches outside the Phanar was received. Instead, a permanent exarch of the Phanar was placed in Ukraine, the “pearl” of Kiev – St. Andrew’s Church was given to him, and the first bishop ordained in the OCU was a citizen of Greece and of Greek origin but not Ukrainian. .
However, even after the election of Metropolitan Epiphanes, 15.5% of the Ukrainian population (this is more than the number of 14.2% of Ukrainians who support the UOC deputy having 12,000 parishes in Ukraine!) Would like that Patriarch Filaret is the primate of the UCO, despite his age. And a large part of the communities left the jurisdiction of Moscow to join the Patriarchate of Kiev (UOC-KP), which, according to Patriarch Bartholomew, “never existed”.
Since the young bishops sold their souls to the Phanar for their ambitions, Patriarch Filaret is almost the only leader of the Ukrainian Church who still believes that it should be independent and serve the interests of Ukraine. If Ukrainians in the diaspora refuse to support him, they will betray their patriarch and their own country. In return, they will receive Greek bishops and the only freedom to pay contributions to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. And given the needs and appetites of the Phanar, the contribution rates will be exorbitant.
Originally published in the Ukrainian Canadian Religious Newsletter: http://canadianukrainian.blogspot.com/2019/06/only-patriarch-filaret-will-protect.html