Vinnitsa, Ukraine, May 12, 2022
The clergy of the Vinnitsa Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church unanimously condemn the violent seizures of churches and declare it impossible and absurd to leave the Church to join a schismatic organization that has no Sacraments.
A clergy conference was held on Tuesday under the chairmanship of the local hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Barsanuphius, reports the Vinnitsa Diocese.
The meeting began with an opening speech from the Metropolitan about the life of the diocese during the war, followed by presentations from diocesan department heads.
Met. Barsanuphius and all the clergy unanimously condemn the violent seizure of churches and the illegal reregistration of churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, whose clergy have been helping the Ukrainian Armed Forces and internally displaced persons since the war began in February, the diocesan report reads.
A number of monasteries, churches, and clerics of the canonical Church have gone into schism since the war began in late February. Regarding this, the Vinnitsa Diocese states:
The clergy also once again expressed a clear position on the impossibility and absurdity of so-called transitions to newly created organizations, including the OCU, whose ordinations and Sacraments are invalid. The challenge for many Orthodox Ukrainians today is the task of preserving themselves in the bosom of the Church of Christ.
A number of hierarchs and clerics have also stopped commemorating His Holiness Patriarch Kirill in the Divine services, and there have been calls for the UOC Synod to begin the process of requesting autocephaly from the Russian Church. The Vinnitsa Diocese comments:
Regarding the decision on the status of the UOC, which is autonomous and independent in governance, this issue is exclusively within the competence of the Council of Bishops of the UOC. In times of war, we should pray more and actively help the Armed Forces of Ukraine and displaced persons. The rapid and unprepared resolution of Church and administrative issues only distracts from the mission of the Church during the war and increases division and discord in society.
The clergy also expressed their unanimous support for His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, and Met. Barsanuphius expressed his gratitude to all the faithful who have collected humanitarian aid. At the end of the conference, a prayer was read for all the fallen soldiers and civilians.