Zaporozhye, Ukraine, February 25, 2019
Parishioners of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church are derided as being unpatriotic despite their great love for their homeland, and the entire Church is accused of being an agent of a so-called “aggressor state”—Russia. However, by the same logic used to insist upon the renaming of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the “Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine,” Ukraine could be called a state of the U.S., explained His Eminence Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye and Melitopol in a live interview on PolitWera on Friday.
Accusations of a lack of patriotism are absurd, Met. Luke said, as parishioners of the canonical Church have proved their love for their native Ukraine by their actions. In his diocese alone, $167,000 (4.5 million hryvnias) were donated to purchase new equipment for local hospitals. Thanks to this equipment, for example, the children’s oncohemtaological department in Zaporozhye became one of the best in Ukraine.
“Dozens of lives have already been saved. The survival rate of these children has increased thanks to our equipment. I can cite many such examples… And we’re not patriots?” Met. Luke said, marveling at the claims of the Ukrainian schismatic-nationalists.
In December 2017, Met. Luke began to visit and take pastoral care of children with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and autism who had been turned out onto the streets by the local “Kiev Patriarchate” bishop who decided to put his residence in the center where they were previously cared for.
As the parents of the children themselves related, “No one has wanted us for a long time, with their problems; everyone has turned away from us, until we turned personally to Vladyka Luke.”
And as is happening throughout Ukraine, the churches, clergy, and faithful of the canonical Church are under attack, not just accusations. For example, earlier this month, two parishes in Met. Luke’s diocese were vandalized with Nazi symbols by Ukrainian extremists.
Moreover, in Met. Luke’s opinion, the logic for renaming the Church (dictated by new law No. 5309) is extremely strange and, if followed consistently, it would mean that Ukraine could be called an American state.
After all, as he notes, those against the canonical Church claim that its administrative center is located in Moscow based on the fact that the Ukrainian Church participates in the Bishops’ Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church and adheres to their decisions. “In the same way, you can accuse Ukraine of being one of the states of the U.S., because there is a representation of Ukraine in the UN, and the UN is located in the US,” Met. Luke explained.
Ukraine is also represented in the UN Security Council, he said, and its decisions are also binding on Ukraine.
“This madness is aimed at one thing—to break our Church, to break our parishioners, to find the guilty,” Vladyka Luke stressed.
In his opinion, the actions of the current authorities against the Church can be compared with those of the Roman Emperor Nero who burned Rome for fun and then accused the Christians of arson and opened a mass bloody persecution against them.
The brethren of the Pochaev Lavra have also accused the current Ukrainian authorities of opening using Soviet tactics against the Church.
In the face of such lawlessness, Met. Luke calls upon the faithful to earnestly live the Orthodox life and work on correcting themselves, and to stand strong together in the face of persecution.
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