The priests do not want to go to hell for the sin of shism, they say.
Korosten, Ukraine, December 12, 2018
Despite the ongoing persecution and propaganda against the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, its dioceses are remaining faithful to it. A number of dioceses have already openly expressed their support for the Church’s canonical status as a self-governing autonomous body and for their primate His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, and now another has joined them—the Diocese of Ovruch.
The diocesan clergy gathered at the cathedral in Korosten on Monday, December 10, for a Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Vissarion of Ovruch and Korosten, after which a moleben for peace in Ukraine was celebrated.
Following the Liturgy and moleben, a meeting of the diocesan clergy was held, at which Met. Vissarion noted: “Signatures of parishioners from 297 parishes headed by their priests were collected in my name, under the appeal testifying to the firm desire to remain members of the Church of Christ which in Ukraine is headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry.”
Likewise, all the priests agreed with the decisions of the Bishops’ Council session of November 13 and of the Holy Synod session of December 7.
In their address, both clergy and laity write: “We do not want to be in Philaret’s or any other schism, which some want to drag us into,” and quoting the great St. Ignatius the God-Bearer, they emphasized how serious the sin of schism is: “If any man follows him that makes a schism in the Church, he shall not inherit the Kingdom of God” (To the Philadelphians).
They end by noting that they want to be in Paradise, not in hell.
Met. Vissarion then blessed them all and thanked them for their firm stance in the Christian faith.
The same support for the canonical Church and Met. Onuphry has also been expressed by the Dioceses of Berdyansk, Nikolaev, Nizhyn, Nova Kakhova, Izium, Crimea, Chernigov and Novgorod-Siversk, Kirovograd, Zhytomyr, Lugansk, Mukachevo, Alexandria, Zaporozhye, Kharkov, Voznesensk, Tulchin, Rivne, Kherson, Severodonetsk, Odessa, Dnipropetrovsk, Krivoy Rog, Kamenka, Zaporozhye, and Poltava, and the clergy of the city of Vinnitsa and of the Bar Deanery of the Vinnitsa Diocese.
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