Zhytomyr, Zaporohzye, and Berdyansk, Ukraine, November 20, 2018
On Sunday afternoon, about a dozen Ukrainian autocephalist “activists” gathered outside the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Zhytomyr to support Constantinople’s push to create a new church in Ukraine and to reject the stance of the canonical Ukrainian Church which has declared that it will remain firm in its present canonical status, reports the Zhytomyr Diocesan website.
As pictures posted on the diocesan website reveal, the autocephalists declared their support not for a “tomos” (“томос”) of autocephaly, but rather for “Thomas” (“томас”), according to what was written on their signs.
“Ukraine will be united through Thomas,” and “Whoever is against Thomas is against Ukraine,” read two of them.
At the same time, priests and several hundred faithful came to gather in the cathedral. They had not been informed of the provocation but had already planned to come to show their support for the clergy of the canonical Ukrainian Church and pray with their hierarch His Eminence Metropolitan Nikodim of Zhytomyr and Novograd-Volyn.
Following the service, Met. Nikodim addressed the gathered faithful, assuring them of his devotion to the Ukrainian Church and its primate His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. He also called on the clergy and faithful to strengthen their prayers and blessed to fast and pray for the Church every Monday.
The Zhytomyr Diocesan Council declared its unwavering support for the canonical Church last week.
The protestors eventually dispersed without incident.
The same thing occurred yesterday outside the diocesan building in Zaporozhye, Archpriest Gennady Elin wrote on his Facebook page.
The clergy of the Zaporozhye Diocese have also declared their full support for the canonical Church and Met. Onuphry, and His Eminence Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye has been one of the most outspoken hierarchs against Constantinople’s uncanonical actions in Ukraine.
Fr. Gennady posted photos and videos showing the protestors hanging their posters with slogans such as “UOC-MP—Kremlin branch” and “There will be no Church war!” They also shouted slogans inciting religious hatred.
Accusing the Ukrainian Church of being an arm of the Kremlin or the FSB is a favorite tactic of Ukrainian schismatics who deny the fact that the Ukrainian Church is administered by Ukrainians. Three churches in Lvov were vandalized with such messages two weekends ago, and another in Lvov was plastered with images of Stalin in late October.
The same thing also happened yesterday outside the diocesan building in Berdyansk, reports the diocesan website.
The protestors were met by His Eminence Archbishop Ephraim of Berdyansk, Diocesan Secretary Archpriest Sergei Ilyuschenko, and other diocesan staff who spoke with the “activists” and explained the Church’s position. During the course of the conversation, the clergy discerned that the provocateurs were not very aware of what was going on in the Church and were not sure why they had come to protest.
After the conversation, they all dispersed.
As OrthoChristian reported yesterday, activists, including members of the terrorist group Right Sector, attacked the diocesan building in Krivoy Rog on Saturday, trying to break down the door and gate.
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