Moscow, January 24, 2019
The six weeks since the “unification council” in Kiev and the three weeks since Patriarch Bartholomew granted a tomos of autocephaly to the Ukrainian nationalist church have been especially marked by the seizure of churches from the canonical Ukrainian Church, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, commented recently.
“There have been at least several dozen forceful attempts to seize them. As for the so-called willing transfers of communities of the canonical Church to the newly-created structure, such cases can be counted on two hands,” His Eminence said on Tuesday in an interview on Russian television, reports Interfax-Religion.
Met. Hilarion noted that although the schismatic church speaks of about 70 cases of parishes transferring to it from the canonical Church, there are serious questions in the majority of cases about how these transitions were carried out.
“What the Kiev authorities present as willing transitions to the newly-created structure in fact often turn out to be either by church seizure or by some decision made under very severe pressure,” the Russian hierarch said.
Theophany services in Sumy were interrupted when an explosive device was thrown into the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral, though, thankfully, no one was injured.
Meanwhile, “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, the elected primate of the new nationalist church, ignores such cases. In a recent interview he stated: “Until now we see quite a peaceful process of parishes in Ukraine joining the new Church, and we will make every effort to continue this in the future.”
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