Ternopil, Ukraine, November 26, 2021
In a recent interview with the Ukrainian outlet TeNews.org.ua, one “hierarch” of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” frankly admitted that the Ukrainian people are largely indifferent to their “church.”
On October 22, “Archbishop” Nestor of Ternopil and Kremenets of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s graceless “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” attended the celebration in Istanbul in honor of the 30th anniversary of the enthronement of Patriarch Bartholomew. Though only hierarchs of Constantinople served, the Liturgy was attended, in addition to Nestor, by representatives of the Churches of Jerusalem, Romania, and Cyprus.
After Nestor and the Romanian hierarch Metropolitan Nifont of Tǎrgovište were photographed standing next to each other in the church, certain outlets began to report that the Romanian Church had practically recognized the OCU.
However, as the schismatic hierarch admits, the media had jumped the gun, and recognition from more Local Churches is unlikely anytime soon, given the Ukrainian peoples own indifference to joining the OCU.
“The journalists really rushed to conclusions about recognition,” Nestor said, noting that he had not concelebrated with the Romanian hierarch.
Nestor had a chance to speak with Met. Nifont, but as the OCU “hierarch” states, “The communication of church diplomats in this case doesn’t mean any steps towards recognition.”
Met. Nifont told the OCU representative that since there has been no mass transition of parishes to the OCU, it’s understood that the faithful continue to support the canonical Church under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
According to Nestor, while Met. Nifont did not say it explicitly, it was clear that the Romanian Church expects to see real steps towards the unification of churches in Ukraine first.
However, Nestor also admits that “given the indifference of a large part of people,” there will not be a mass transition of parishes anytime soon. “Even dozens of transitions in individual dioceses are a drop on the scale of Ukraine,” he said.
Moreover, it is well known that only about 100 parishes voluntarily departed into schism, while hundreds others were violently seized and forced into schism by the authorities’ manipulation of legal documents.
Meanwhile, the primate of the OCU, “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko has repeatedly declared that the Romanian Church is ready to recognize his structure. His prediction from January of this year was, however, directly refuted by the personal advisor to His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania on foreign and inter-Church relations.