Kiev, August 5, 2022
After applying for membership in the World Council of Churches in April, the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” met with representatives of the organization in Kiev on Wednesday.
According to Epiphany Dumenko, the head of the schismatic OCU, they don’t seize churches and force them into schism, but rather, “The transition of communities is a natural phenomenon.”
Dumenko, Evstraty Zorya, and other OCU representatives met with Archpriest Ioan Sauca, a Romanian Orthodox priest and acting Secretary General of the WCC and other representatives from the inter-church organization, reports the OCU press service.
The sides discussed interfaith relations in Ukraine against the background of the ongoing war, and the “conscious and free transition of communities to the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
Dumenko told the WCC reps:
The transition of communities is a natural phenomenon, we don’t create it artificially, and despite various attempts, this process can’t be stopped. Often, I myself only learn from media reports that a particular parish has decided to join our Church. We’re open to dialogue and want to live in peace with everyone, so we’re interested in the voluntary and peaceful implementation of this process.
However, it’s well known that the OCU and its predecessor organizations have violently and illegally seized hundreds of parishes throughout the country over the years, often with the support and cooperation of the authorities. This campaign has seriously ramped up since the war began in February.
Most recently, OrthoChristian reported that a group of OCU schismatics beat a priest and several old women while attempting to seize the Church of St. Paraskeva in the village of Pirogovtsy, Khmelnitsky Province, late last month.
Meanwhile, the OCU has been invited to participate in the WCC General Assembly in early September.