Kiev, July 30, 2019
Every year, the All-Ukrainian Cross Procession occurs, and every year, experts across the Orthodox world as well in Ukraine try to analyze the event and its meaning and compare the procession of the canonical Church to that of the schismatics.
The disparity between the marches was clear in 2017, as the canonical Church gathered over 100,000 people, while the schismatics of the Kiev Patriarchate gathered an anemic crowd of some 2,000. The difference can be seen in this video, showing the canonical Church up until the 3:02 mark, when the tiny march of the Kiev Patriarchate is shown.
It is worth noting that every year the police reportedly misrepresent the actual numbers of believers. according to Church sources. For example, in 2018, the canonical Church (shown below) claims over 200,000 believers attended, whereas the police assessed the crowd below as only around 20,000 people.
At the same time, the schismatics held their own cross procession in 2018, in which they infamously shouted: “Glory to the nation — death to the enemies.” The procession was attended by then-President Poroshenko who marched side by side with self-declared Patriarch Philaret. While the police said the canonical Church had only 20,000 people, they assessed the crowd of the schismatics (shown below), as being over 65,00 people.
Nevertheless, something interesting happened this year: According to the website of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the police estimated that the canonical cross procession, led by Metropolitan Onuphry, had over 30,000 participants.
At the same time, the police estimated that only 15,000 people attended the procession of the schismatic OCU, led by “Metropolitan” Epiphany and attended by former President Poroshenko and representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The Union of Orthodox Journalists also report that Philaret staged his own cross procession, but was only able to draw around 300 people.
The numbers from the police are particularly interesting.
It should not be surprising that they deny the massive amount of 300,000 people, because as noted, they vastly underestimate the numbers each year compared to the numbers the Church claims. However, the official numbers from the police still count the procession of the canonical Church as being twice as large as that of the schismatics. Certainly, the Ukrainian police cannot be accused of bias in favor of the Ukrainian Church, making these numbers are all the more important.
By all accounts, the Church led by Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine is yet again shown to be the largest and most popular religious institution in Ukraine.
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