Nizhyn, Ukraine, October 24, 2019
The mass transfer of parish communities of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” was an artificial process, Metropolitan Clement of Nizhyn and Priluki believes, forced through by governmental pressure rather than by the will and decision of the faithful.
Thus, the process of transfers has almost completely stopped since the governmental change in the country, he commented in a recent interview with segodnya.ua.
When the transfers were occurring on a larger scale, it was done under the slogan of, “The people of Ukraine want to change their confession en masse,” but when the political situation changed, the transitions nearly stopped, Abp. Clement commented, noting that most of them had occurred under pressure from and at the initiative of local and state authorities.
“The question arises: Why did the people of Ukraine suddenly and unexpectedly stop wanting to change their religious beliefs? This amazing fact can be explained only by the fact that the transition process was artificial,” the UOC hierarch explained.
OrthoChristian has reported on many cases of forced transfers, whether by violence or by illegal maneuvering from local authorities.
And not only has the process of transfers nearly dried up, but it has begun to work in the reverse, with parishes returning to the canonical Church after having gone into schism. Met. Clement specifically mentioned the parish in Morozovka, which OrthoChristian reported on previously.
Further, he criticized the statistic that are often announced by the OCU and its supporters.
Statements about an alleged 500 parishes joining the OCU are “absolute fakes,” he emphasized. “These figures have absolutely nothing to do with reality, and it is very easy to check. Simply go and see the parishes … that it was announced had transferred to the OCU. You will see that in reality, no one transferred there.”
The tactics are the same as during the Soviet Union, Met. Clement said, when instructions would come down from above that local authorities could not actually fulfill, and they simply made up statistics.
In February, it was revealed that the OCU keeps no official statistics on the number of parishes transferring anyways.
In July, OrthoChristian reported that no parishes had switched to the OCU in the previous two months.