Vinnitsa, Ukraine, February 17, 2020
Another priest has offered his repentance for having left the Orthodox Church to join the Ukrainian schismatics.
In March of last year, Archpriest Roman Asaphov, rector of the Church of St. Seraphim of Sarov in the city of Kazatin left the canonical Ukrainian Church and joined the nationalist schismatics. However, the press service of the Vinnitsa Diocese reports today that he addressed a letter to His Eminence Metropolitan Barsanuphius of Vinnitsa and Bar, in which he offers his sincere repentance for his sin.
In his letter, Fr. Roman also declared his intention to steadily maintain loyalty to God and unity with the canonical Church.
Having offered his repentance, Fr. Roman was received as a priest of the Vinnitsa Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and reinstated as rector of the Church of St. Seraphim.
The diocese emphasizes that this is the third cleric of the diocese to return from the schism.
The clergymen of the Vinnitsa Diocese especially faced pressure to join the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” as the former hierarch of the diocese, Simeon Shostatsky, was one of only two bishops of the canonical Church to depart into the schism.
As his replacement Met. Barsanuphius said in a recent interview, Shostatsky had been promised by former President Petro Poroshenko that he would become the primate of the OCU, and he had been pressuring and threatening his clerics to follow him, telling them they would not be able to feed their families otherwise.
In June, the canonical Vinnitsa Diocese reported that a number clerics of the diocese initially followed Simeon into schism, though they repented and returned to the Church within a matter of days. In the end, as the diocese reports, only 18 of the roughly 250 priests went into schism, and two deacons, and some have returned since then.
In July, it was reported that Fr. Nikolai Brega and the parish community of Holy Dormition Church in the village of Morozovka returned to Christ in the Orthodox Church from schism, and in August it was reported that Archpriest Alexander Tyutyuma of the Berdyansk Diocese repented and returned to the Church from schism.