Kiev, December 1, 2020
It would be good if Patriarch Bartholomew came and visited localities throughout Ukraine to meet the simple Ukrainian faithful who have suffered severely thanks to his interference in the Ukrainian Church situation.
Could he look them in the eyes and tell them he brought them peace, His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary asks in response to the announcement that the Patriarch will visit Ukraine in August.
During his trip to Istanbul in October, President Vladimir Zelensky invited Pat. Bartholomew to visit Ukraine. At that time, the 30th anniversary of Ukrainian independence, to be celebrated on August 24, 2021, was pinpointed as a possible date for his visit. And following his meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal yesterday, Pat. Bartholomew announced that he would indeed visit in August.
According to the canons of the Church, a hierarch of any Church cannot visit the territory of another Church without an invitation from the local hierarch. Nevertheless, Pat. Bartholomew’s last trip to Ukraine, in 2008, also came by political invitation, without the knowledge of the then-primate Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine (read about his visit here).
But if the Patriarch is coming anyways, “it would be good if this foreign guest, instead of official receptions or participating in mass events organized specifically for him, could spend at least a few minutes in several localities of Ukraine,” Met. Anthony writes, noting that the timing of the Patriarch’s visit makes it fairly clear that his itinerary will be filled with “political and ideological moments.”
In his opinion, if this would happen, “much would finally become clear.”
“For example, would the Patriarch have been able to look directly into the eyes of the believers who were severely beaten during the seizure of the Church in the village of Katerinovka in the Ternopil Province?” the Metropolitan asks.
“Or would he be able to confidently say that he brought peace to the Church life of Ukraine with his tomos in front of the family of the deceased Archpriest Leonid Delikatny from the village of Zadubrovka, Chernivtsi Province, whose health was irrevocably undermined by endless attacks on him and his community by supporters of the ‘OCU?”
“How would the Greek primate be able to claim that he represents the Mother Church for the children and young grandchildren of Fr. Stephen Korolchuk from Polesskoe village, Rivne Province, who together with their large family have been expelled from their houses into the street by the schismatics?” Met. Anthony asks.
Indeed, there are hundreds such cases “involving human grief, pain, and suffering,” the Chancellor emphasizes.
“And, however you want to spin it, the lion’s share of responsibility for them is borne by Patriarch Bartholomew, who, in pursuit of unlimited power, legalized the Ukrainian schism and thereby provoked a powerful wave of pressure and persecution against the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” Met. Anthony stressed.
And while the Patriarch’s visit threatens to give renewed impetus to these violent seizures, the faithful of the UOC should not fear.
“The Church has passed through other trials, and has always come out on top. The same cannot be said of some Patriarchs of Constantinople, whose sad fates testify to the futility of trusting in the power of the authorities rather than in God,” the UOC Chancellor concluded.
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