The following document was adopted at the Congress of Monastics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church held at the Pochaev Lavra on July 15, 2021.
Address of the monastics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
TO HIS HOLINESS PATRIARCH BARTHOLOMEW OF CONSTANTINOPLE
The two-thousand-year old tradition of Orthodoxy has been built on the unity of the Local Orthodox Churches, each of which fully possesses all the fullness of grace, and all together form the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Universal Church.
This unity of the Local Orthodox Churches can be likened to the Holy Eucharist, where the whole Christ is in the whole Holy Lamb, but the whole Christ is also in every particle. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has from of old preserved such an ecclesiology, paying homage to the seniority of the ancient Orthodox Churches. We who believe in Christ remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He came not to be served, but to serve (Mt. 20:28). Therefore, any teaching about special powers and a special status is always inclined to the spirit of this world.
Your Holiness, on July 15, 2021, 310 participants in our monastic congress from 258 monasteries and 56 sketes, dependencies, and communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church gathered at the great Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra, to not only discuss pressing issues of monastic life, but also to react to those processes in world Orthodoxy that are undermining the unity of the Orthodox Church. We, the monastics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, have always revered and honored the spiritual tradition of the great Greek monasteries. For us, both Mount Athos and other monasteries of Greece were places for receiving spiritual guidance and care. This is a traditional phenomenon for the monastic tradition of our Church. Practically every monastery in Ukraine has icons painted on the Holy Mountain and relics and icons connected with Greece. We have loved and revered the Greek monks from whom we received spiritual instructions in simplicity. We remember your visits to Ukraine, and those of your representatives, when you demonstrated in every possible way your support for the lawful Metropolitan of Kiev, first Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan) of blessed memory, and then his successor, Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. Therefore, the treacherous actions that you, as the first among the equal bishops of the Orthodox world, carried out in relation to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church are the greatest pain and greatest sorrow for us. We are at a loss to fathom what motivated your decisions, but we see firsthand what they have led to. With sorrow and confusion in our hearts, we, the monastics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, ask you, Patriarch Bartholomew, how can your morality accept the level of agitation that your decision has brought to our country: church seizures, simple believers being beaten, discrimination against our pastors and flocks on a state level, and calls for the execution of our clergy? Do you understand that in the decline of your life, you have become the cause of the division of the one people of God, in which, according to the Apostle Paul, there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all (Col. 3:11)? What anti-Church powers were you serving when you committed such an unprecedented crime against the Church? Do you realize that in the bloody confrontation that sows grief among our people, you have brought new seeds of religious struggle, from which the Lord saved us earlier?
In the current situation, we, the monastics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, appeal to you to assess the consequences of your actions and reconsider your decision. Become again the first hierarch in honor and a father recognized by all Orthodox Christians. Remember the firm dedication to Orthodoxy of your great predecessors. Think what great responsibility you will bear if your name goes down in Orthodox history in connection with a trampled unity, not standing on par with your great predecessors the Holy Hierarchs St. John Chrysostom, St. Photios, St. Tarasios, and St. Gennadios, but on par with the traitors of the Church who desecrated the throne of Constantinople.
Before the shared sacred treasures of all Orthodox Christians, we, the hierarchs, abbots, and abbesses of all the holy monasteries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, lift up our prayers to the Merciful Lord that He might grant you to see the fruit of your desire to unite the lawful Church with those who departed from it decades ago and have only became entrenched in their hard-heartedness, sowing confusion and division among ordinary people.
Chairman of the Congress:
Metropolitan Vyshgorod and Chernobyl,
Vicar of the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine,
Chairman of the Synodal Commission for Monastery Affairs of the UOC,
Abbot of the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra,
with the 281 delegates
Secretary of the Congress:
Metropolitan of Svyatogorsk,
Vicar of the Donetsk Diocese,
Abbot of the Holy Dormition-Svyatogorsk Lavra
July 15, 2021