Odessa, July 3, 2019
The schismatic civil war continues, as the Ukrainian news website Union of Orthodox Journalists reports that in addition to the embattled Church of the Nativity of Christ in Odessa, where supporters of the “Kiev Patriarchate” refused to remain together in the OCU, now another community from the Church of St. Nicholas in Odessa has declared it’s loyalty for the Kiev Patriarchate. The Union of Orthodox Journalist quoted the schismatics who said:
“Dear Friends, we are happy to report to you, that yet another community, the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker on 8 Bereznya street in Odessa, has joined together with the Church of the Nativity of Christ in being loyal to the Orthodox faith and the Kievan Patriarchate!”
According to Patriarch Bartholomew however, the Kiev Patriarchate “does not exist and never existed”, and according to the Tomos provided by Constantinople, the KP is supposed to be dissolved into the “unity” of the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is to this moment recognized by no church other than Constantinople itself.
In reality, this unity exists more on paper than in practice, as false “patriarch of Kiev” Philaret has been leading a mini schism within the already schismatic OCU. Philaret consistently maintains that he was, is, and always will be patriarch, in rebellion with the position taken by Pat. Bartholomew and the OCU, while activists of the latter have already reportedly seized a KP church.
While Philaret lost the vast majority of his bishops to the OCU, and will likely simply consecrate new ones based on his statements and actions, it is important to note that the conflict between the schismatics is not only at the leadership level, but in fact reflects the political mindset of many activists.
According to the Union of Orthodox Journalists, the conflict in Odessa is between the long-time rector of the Church of the Nativity of the KP, Vitaly Senyk, and the new leader of the OCU Odessa diocese Pavel Yuristy, who appointed himself rector. Senyk refused to step down and his supporters began to fight with supporters of Yuristy.
Based on that information, it would seem this specific conflict has little to do with any tomos, or which primate is being recognized, but entirely based on the schismatics’ envy and greed. This is just one such example.