Dnipro, Ukraine, January 18, 2019
Parishioners of the Church of the Nativity in the village of Kurilovka in the Dnipropetrovsk Province have sent letters to various officials, including Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, in defense of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine and the faithful of the canonical Church, reports the Ukrainian site Vesti.
“We are appealing to you so you would understand our concerns for the spiritual state of the citizens of Ukraine, us, for concrete people, and that we are not religious or political provocateurs, we are not a ‘fifth column’ and outspoken ‘agents of the Kremlin,’ as has become fashionable for politicians of the highest rank in Ukraine to expose the faithful of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, whose head is the currently His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, for a scare before the whole world,” the letter reads.
“We grew up in the culture of southeastern Ukraine and we have not felt the need in our area, in our province, or in the neighboring provinces of southern, southeastern, and the lion’s share of central Ukraine, for the ‘Kiev Patriarchate’ or now for the ‘Local Church,’ whose creation was decided upon by the state authorities and the members of the ‘Kiev Patriarchate,’ but not us,” the parishioners write.
Further, the pious faithful wonder what harm they are doing to Ukraine as loyal Ukrainians and dedicated Orthodox Christians.
“What harm do we, Ukrainian citizens, its citizens, praying for its army and authorities and for peace and prosperity in churches that we began to erect ourselves and intend to build in the future? We build our own churches with our own funds, our own stipends and meager salaries and pensions and donations from faithful from around the world—where is our crime before the state? Only in that we consider ourselves to be as such and cannot be otherwise in our faith, in our history, in our memory, in the end? Do we need to be annihilated for this? Yes, our Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry is part of universal Orthodoxy through the Russian Orthodox Church, fifth in the diptychs of the world Orthodox Church—where is our crime? Or is our crime that we don’t war in principle, whether physical or religious?” the faithful ask.
“We will remain in our Church, no matter what absurd laws the state authorities adopt, categorically violating the constitution of Ukraine, no matter how they contrive to steal our churches or terrorize our priests and faithful. We ask you to calm the emotions of the politicians and zealous officials in the frenzied execution of quick-fix laws directed against the human conscience, and to prevent and not allow the seizure of our communities by hyperactive nationalists! We have been and will be what we are—believers in Christ and lovers of Kievan Rus’-Ukraine!” the parishioners write in conclusion.
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