Lvov, September 17, 2019
The head of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) was in the capital of Western Ukraine, Lvov, recently, where he met with students of the Lvov Polytechnic National University and spoke to them about the mission of the OCU both in Ukraine and in Europe.
As for its European future and goals, the “primate” explained that it is necessary to tell good from evil, and to become for the world an example of “true Christian life”. According to Epiphany, the mission of the OCU is to return this true Christianity to Europe, reports zbruc.edu.
This comes just after yet another example of OCU schismatics raiding a church, brutally attacking the priest, and ultimately hospitalizing a parishioner.
This is of course not an isolated incident, but a tragically regular occurrence. The OrthoChristian archive concerning the Ukrainian Church Crisis has several reports of Church seizures, attacks, and threats made against believers of the canonical Church by members of the OCU and other schismatic organizations.
On June 20, it was reported that 85 churches had been seized and 222 illegally re-registered in Ukraine since Constantinople’s unification council. The actual number of suffering churches is unfortunately higher, as this was already more than two months ago, and this number apparently included only churches attacked by schismatics of the OCU, rather than various provocations committed by the Uniates.
It is therefore highly questionable how Epiphany can speak of living a true Christian life, while his supporters physically assault believers.
Concerning the Uniates themselves, Epiphany also had some interesting words, stating that he considers Lvov to be a core center of his schismatic movement.
“[This is] not to offend the Greek Catholics. Why do I say this? Because the largest number of parishes within our church is within the Lvov diocese. There are not so many in any other region, even in Kiev less so, and thus for our church, Lvov is indeed an Orthodox center, for me, a special city… We thank our Greek Catholic brothers who are rejoicing in our successes, because if we Orthodox are to be strong, then we will work together on our national interests, and from this, only good can come. Therefore, we must take care that Kiev and Lvov are united among themselves.” Epiphany said.
There certainly seems to be oneness of mind between the schismatics and the Uniates. As OrthoChristian previously reported, a schismatic OCU priest, who considers members of the Nazi SS to be literal saints, served a funeral for actual WW2 Nazi fighters together with Uniate clergy; at the funeral, there was a blasphemous “icon” with the Mother of God, and people in Nazi uniforms.
With this in mind, the Uniates were some of the largest persecutors of Orthodoxy in the history of Ukraine; it is very strange to hear about Orthodox working together with them on anything, especially national interests, and especially in Ukraine.
The situation for Orthodox in Lvov is best explained by Orthodox people from Lvov themselves, rather than schismatics born in Odessa, like Epiphany.
Archpriest Rostislav Yarema is a Doctor of Theology and Professor born and raised in Lvov, and OrthoChristian published one of his articles, in which he explored the history of religious conflicts in Ukraine during the 20th and 21st centuries.
The amazing article reveals a great deal of facts never before revealed in the English language, and had a lot to say concerning the role of the Uniates.
In the article, Fr. Rostislav reveals (among other shocking things):
In 1990, there were 2,639 parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in Galicia; of them:
1,237 were in the Lvov Province,
619 were in the Ivano-Frankivsk Province,
783 were in the Ternopil Province.
Between 1990 and 1997, the Greek Catholics seized around 2,000 churches of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church; out of them:
7 were in the Chernivtsi Province,
125 were in Transcarpathia
Around 1,000 were in the Lvov Province,
More than 500 were in the Ivano-Frankivsk Province,
740 were in the Ternopil Province.
With this in mind, it is uncertain how Epiphany can speak about Christian values, while his clergy seize parishes and assaults believers, or about Greek Catholic “brothers” working together with Orthodox, when the Uniates have been some of the largest historical persecutors.
It is very clear, however, when Epiphany speaks of working for “national interests,” as both the Uniates and the schismatics are united by the nationalist nature of their movements.