Priest who repented of schism just months before his repose is laid to rest in Ukraine

Vinnitsa, Ukraine, February 28, 2020

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Archpriest Stephen Sinyuk of the Vinnitsa Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was laid to rest on Wednesday, February 26.

He reposed in the Lord at the age of 78 after a long illness, reports the diocesan press service.

As the diocese reports, just a few months before his repose, Fr. Stephen repented of the sin of having joined the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” and returned to the bosom of the canonical Ukrainian Church under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine and His Eminence Metropolitan Barsanuphius of Vinnitsa.

Fr. Stephen was born on January 10, 1943 in the village of Dzigovka in the Yampol District in the Vinnitsa Province in the family of a priest. He studied at the Odessa Theological Seminary (1967-1971) and the Moscow Theological Academy (1971-1980).

He was ordained to the diaconate on September 14, 1969 and to the priesthood on June 20, 1971. He initially served in parishes of the Odessa and Donetsk Dioceses and in 1977 was transferred to the Vinnitsa Diocese, where he served as rector of the then-Cathedral of the Nativity of the Theotokos and later as the first rector of the revived Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Vinnitsa.

May his memory be eternal!

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The clergymen of the Vinnitsa Diocese especially faced pressure to join the schismatic OCU as the former hierarch of the diocese, Simeon Shostatsky, was one of only two bishops of the canonical Church to depart into 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 three have returned since then, the latest being Archpriest Roman Asafa, who returned to the Church earlier this month.

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.

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