Consequences of the Russian invasion for the Ukrainian Church

Ukraine, March 4, 2022

Photo: Photo:     

Attacks and fake news about the canonical Ukrainian Church

Last week, OrthoChristian reported on increased threats, violent attacks, and media manipulation against the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Unfortunately, such cases have continued in various places.

Fake reports about weapons and ammunition being stored in churches and monasteries continue. Special Services and local police and authorities inspected Holy Dormition-Svyatogorsk Convent in the village of Zimno, Volyn Province, following up on such a report, though no weapons or anyone or anything suspicious was found. Meanwhile, the nuns pray for peace every day and are ready to house up to 50 refugees.

Police in Rivne have also refuted the constant reports they are receiving of weapons and saboteurs supposedly being concealed in monasteries and churches.

The website of the Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra was blocked after false accusations that the monastery is raising money illegal armed groups. Ironically, the block prevented the monastery from hosting its appeal to Patriarch Kirill to call on Russian authorities to stop the war in Ukraine.

In general, the Ukrainian Security Service has announced that there is a massive campaign of fake news and fake accusations underway against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which destabilize the internal situation in the country.

Meanwhile, Uniate and schismatic priests have seized and blocked several churches and a monastery in the Ivano-Frankivsk Diocese, and clergy and parishioners in Gorodok, Lvov Province, have been accused of anti-Ukrainian activities, and the Church banned.

Humanitarian aid

Though it is lamentable that such assistance is needed, it is good to see that the Church in Ukraine and in many other countries has massively mobilized to offer all possible humanitarian aid to those suffering in Ukraine and those who have fled to neighboring countries. There are far more stories than OrthoChristian is able to cover.

In the Ukrainian Nizhyn Diocese, hierarchs, monastics, and volunteers have provided hot meals to hundreds of refugees and local servicemen, and the same is true all across Ukraine. Clergy of the Odessa Diocese recently delivered food to a local orphanage that had run out and was in urgent need. An infirmary and shelter were also established at a convent in Odessa. The Kiev Caves Lavra is supplying local orphanages and hospitals with food.

The Ukrainian Church’s Synodal Department for Social and Humanitarian Affairs has launched a project, “The Church Helps,” to connect those in need and those who can help.

Dioceses and monasteries throughout Russia are also taking care of refugees and raising funds for those who are suffering. The Church’s Mercy humanitarian aid service managed to raise 10 million rubles ($89,750) in 5 days, used to provide 10.5 tons of food and necessary items to various regions to help refugees. Another 1 million rubles ($8,975) was sent by the Synodal Department for Charity to the Shakhty Diocese, and funds will be collected in all churches of the Russian Church on the next three Sundays. As of earlier this week, more than 18,000 refugees had received assistance in 30 dioceses from the Synodal Department.

ELEOS, the Polish Church’s humanitarian agency is actively raising funds for refugees in Poland. As OrthoChristian previously reported, the Orthodox Church in America has partnered with ELEOS to help those in need, and funds have already been sent to ELEOS from the Finnish Orthodox Church. The Polish Church has already provided several shipments of goods for refugees and those suffering within Ukraine. The Orthodox faithful have also opened their houses to refugees.

The Church is also raising funds and collecting food, toys, medical supplies, blankets, and other necessities in Slovakia.

35 tons of aid the Czech Republic and the Church in Romania was recently delivered to Chernivtsi in Ukraine, and another 35 tons was sent by the Romanian Church for refugees and soldiers in Rivne, Ternopil, and Zhytomyr. The site of the Romanian Orthodox Church features many such stories. Dioceses, monasteries, and churches are also offering free medical services to refugees, collecting toys for refugee children, housing refugees, and much more.

Both the Romanian and Russian Churches in Moldova are also doing all they can to provide housing, food, medicine, and all necessities to refugees there.

Monasteries in Bulgaria are also opening their doors to refugees. Help is also coming from the Church of Greece. For example, residents of Thessaloniki sent off a truck full of food, medicine, clothes, shoes, and blankets for those suffering in Ukraine.

Churches damaged

Unfortunately, with attacks and fighting in several cities throughout Ukraine, several churches have been caught in the crossfire and damaged.

In Kharkov, windows, liturgical utensils, and decorations were damaged at the Holy Dormition Cathedral, and two other churches in the city were damaged, one severely.

The Ukrainian Church also reports on four churches in the Lugansk, Nizhyn, Kiev, and Donetsk Dioceses being damaged, and another in the city of Lysychansk.

Human casualties

Of course, the most important and terrible consequences of the war are the people who have been injured and killed, including soldiers on both sides, Ukrainian citizens who have been armed, and those who have been caught in the crossfire.

Amidst Russian reports that Ukrainian nationalist battalions aren’t allowing citizens to evacuate cities where fighting has broken out, thankfully, the Russian and Ukrainian negoatiation teams were able to come to an agreement on creating evacuation corridors, including a possible temporary ceasefire as long as citizens are being evacuated.

Among the civilian casualties is Hieromonk Theodosy (Goncharov), 45, of the Holy Trinity Church in the village of Grabovka in the Chernigov Diocese, who died of a shrapnel wound.

The handmaiden of God Elena, a chanter at the Theophany Cathedral in the center of Gorlovka, which is among the church’s damaged, died in the hospital on February 28.

May the memories of Hieromonk Theodosy, the handmaiden of God Elena, and all those who have died be eternal!

OrthoChristian reported earlier this week that several hierarchs and dioceses have ceased commemorating Patriarch Kirill in the Divine services, and some have even called for the process of requesting autocephaly to begin, while the UOC Chancellor has urged all to focus on prayer and not to make major decisions in such trying and emotional times.

Follow OrthoChristian on Facebook, Twitter, Vkontakte, Telegram, WhatsApp, MeWe, and Gab!


Mark3/7/2022 6:47 am
@Michael K, Lindsey Graham is Deep State. Please don't support those kind of people - nothing good will come of it.
Benjamin3/6/2022 4:38 am
Hopefully the Washington Regime doesn't activate its various Islamic sleeper cells (I.E., ISIS-trained fighters) across Russia and they start bombing churches
AnonSaysWhat3/5/2022 6:00 am
The leader of Ukraine isn't an Orthodox Christian. What was he again? The mayor of Kiev isn't an Orthodox Christian. What was he again? Russia will win, and anyone against it are blind to the satanic strategy these last 60-70 years. The problems of Ukraine will disappear. No more OCU, no more non-Orthodox Christian leaders for an Orthodox Christian nation.
Theodoros3/5/2022 12:08 am
US Senator Graham is a traditional warmonger whose prescription to remove President Putin is irrational and dangerous. I do not support the invasion but still believe the Democratic Party and media laid the groundwork for conflict by the past decade of anti Russian hatred. Long before the invasion the Russians were collectively being stigmatized and the Russian Church was being maligned. The degree of anti Russian hatred is best seen by the creation of the schism in Orthodoxy. The influence that the west holds over the Greek speaking Churches is evil. What needs to be done is to bring about an immediate ceasefire followed by negotiations. The deranged views of Graham and others threaten to worsen the situation.
Michael K3/4/2022 11:24 pm
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham is right!
Nikolai3/4/2022 8:53 pm
In Galicia today, there are few if any "Uniates" as there are few if any Rusins. The progeny of these people, who accept the Pope of Rome as their spiritual leader, call themselves Ukrainian Catholics. Many of the Rusins, known as "Ruthenians" by the Papacy and Austro-Hungarian authorities, did not know they were referred to "uniates" and continued to believe they were Orthodox. Some of them believed they were Orthodox under Roman jurisdiction. For various reasons, many of these Galicians in the homeland, in the US and Canada joined the Russian Orthodox Church. The return to their historical Mother Church by the Galicians is a phenomenon that is under study which is being carried out by historians and researchers. The Lives of the Saints Maksim Sandovich, Alexis the Carpatho-Russian and Alexis Toth provide a view into the reality of their existence in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Life and Works of Father Ivan Naumovich, the Enlightener of Galician Rus', also gives a clear insight to the history of this topic. Prior to 1963 the Greek Catholic Church in Galicia was officially known as "Ecclesia Ruthena Unita". Through the efforts of Cardinal Slipyj it was reorganized as "Ukrainian". There is also a Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church in the US, Canada, Subcarpathian Rus', Slovakia and Hungary.
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 4000 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 4000

to our mailing list

* indicates required