Pochaev, Ukraine, May 25, 2021
The statement of “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, the head of Constantinople’s schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” that the majority of the monks of the Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra aren’t Ukrainians is a blatant lie, says the abbot of the holy habitation.
Meeting with Ukrainian youth in Ternopil on Friday, Dumenko took the opportunity to declare that the Pochaev Lavra is “under occupation,” as most of its monks are supposedly not Ukrainians, but are “imported from other countries.”
Unfortunately, such a spirit of division is at the heart of Dumenko’s OCU, which refuses to acknowledge the millions of Ukrainian hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and faithful who make up the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church as real Ukrainians, because they maintain canonical communion with the Orthodox Church as an autonomous body within the Moscow Patriarchate.
Unlike the canonical UOC, the OCU was created by former President Petro Poroshenko, together with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, for the purpose of separating from and standing against the Russian Orthodox Church, which Poroshenko has described as full of “Moscow demons.” The canonical UOC has no business being in Ukraine, Poroshenko believes.
Dumenko encouraged the youth to have a little patience until the time is right for the great Lavras to switch to the “real Ukrainian Church.”
However, His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of Pochaev, the abbot of the Pochaev Lavra, rejected Dumenko’s statement as an outright lie.
In fact, all the Lavra monks are citizens of Ukraine and come from Ukraine, he told the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
“It’s pure lies,” the abbot said. “It’s clear that they [the OCU] have a tendency to tell lies.”
“If anyone really wants to check, you can go to the passport office and see that all the monks of the Pochaev Lavra are Ukrainians. They all have Ukrainian passports.”
Met. Vladimir also added that there are currently more than 150 monks in the Lavra, and that the Ukrainian Special Services are well aware of their citizenship and origin.
Dumenko’s declaration is most likely aimed at those who want to believe that the canonical Ukrainian Church is “non-Ukrainian,” Met. Vladimir concluded.