Kiev, October 2, 2018
Parishioners of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church gathered in Kiev yesterday to prayerfully protest the presence and activities of the two exarch bishops sent by the Ecumenical Patriarchate tasked with meeting with Ukrainian schismatics towards creating a new church.
Believers, mostly from Western Ukraine, from the dioceses that suffer the most at the hands of Ukrainian nationalist-schismatics, gathered at the building where the exarchs, Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon and Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton, are believed to be staying, reports ukraina.ru.
The demonstration was peaceful, with the gathered faithful offering prayers for much-suffering Ukraine and holding posters emphasizing their devotion to the canonical Ukrainian Church and calling on His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew not to create a new schism in Ukraine.
The posters being held by the faithful read, “The UOC is our holy Mother, we will not let her be killed,” “Do not split our Church,” “We are the UOC, Onuphry is our Metropolitan,” among other slogans.
The participants emphasized that they gathered with peaceful intentions of reminding the Constantinople legates of the position of the true Ukrainian faithful and of their responsibility for what is happening.
“We have gathered in a peaceful, prayerful demonstration, praying to God and the Most Holy Theotokos that the Lord would enlighten our authorities and grant them wisdom… to not rend the Church of Christ and not interfere in the affairs of the Church,” commented a Kievan priest, Archpriest Andrew, who participated in the event, as reported on the Facebook page of the First Cossack news outlet.
“The Church is outside of the government, but the Church prays for its authorities and for its soldiers. The Church calls us to love, it calls us to peace. And we call on the representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the exarchs, to make a wise decision…” Fr. Andrew explained.
“If they still give a tomos of autocephaly to the schismatic church, then the seizure of churches will begin,” the priest warned.
“Bloodshed will begin.”
Unfortunately, bloodshed has already been going on for years. Radical nationalists attacked the priest and parishioners of a church in in the village of Bogorodchany in the Ivano-Frankivsk region on Saturday, leaving one man with a concussion and another with a broken arm.
“The state wants to change the name of our Church—not the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, but the Russian Orthodox Church, although we are all Ukrainians. We were given a tomos of the full autonomy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is governed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, and this Church has everything to lead its flock to Christ, to the Kingdom of God,” Fr. Andrew emphasized, echoing the June 25th statement of the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Church, who declared that their current canonical status is sufficient for carrying out their God-given responsibilities.
And emphasizing the spiritual mindset of the canonical Ukrainian Church, he concluded, “We call everyone to repentance, prayer, and love for one another.”
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