Metropolitan Onuphry’s annual report: UOC-ROC separation, increased church seizures, Church’s fight for survival

Kiev, December 14, 2022

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His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine headed the annual diocesan meeting of the Kiev Diocese today, held at the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra, reports the Information-Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Following memorial prayers offered for the Kiev clergy who reposed over the past year, His Beatitude opened the meeting with a report on the life of the diocese in 2022.

This year’s report is different, the Ukrainian primate said, as the Church has faced two great challenges this year. First:

The situation changed significantly on February 24, when the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine began, which brought to the Ukrainian land and the Kiev Diocese the death of people, the destruction of churches, rocket attacks, and a lack of light, heat, and water. With God’s help, we have already somehow gotten used to these challenges and adapted to the latest realities. We learned how to work to the sound of an alarm and perform the necessary work in semi-darkness.

And second:

However, unfortunately, we are now faced with a new challenge—to preserve our Church—the Church of Christ—on Ukrainian soil, to preserve the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the purity of the Orthodox faith. This has to be done under the relentless information and provocative pressure of our own compatriots-citizens of Ukraine, individual representatives of state authorities.

As His Beatitude recalled, the UOC condemned the war and called for an end to bloodshed from the very first day, and there were appeals to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill to help bring an end to it, but the voice of the UOC went unheard.

On May 27, the UOC held a Synod meeting, a Bishops’ Council, and a Local Council, including hierarchs, clerics, monastics, and lay representatives. In the end, significant amendments were made to the statutes on the administration of the UOC.

“In particular, the clause that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a self-governing part of the Russian Orthodox Church has been removed from the statutes. Thus, not only the administrative independence of the UOC, which already existed before, was established, but also the separation from the Moscow Patriarchate was confirmed,” Met. Onuphry affirmed.

Thus, the UOC primate is no longer a member of the Russian Holy Synod, the UOC is no longer obliged to abide by the decision of ROC councils, and the clause about commemorating Pat. Kirill in the Divine services was removed from the statutes. Copies of the updated statutes were sent to the relevant state bodies.

The Metropolitan further recalled that the Council condemned the war, called for peace talks, and expressed disagreement with Pat. Kirill’s position on the war.

It also defined the conditions that would make dialogue with the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” possible, which includes the OCU stopping the seizure of churches. However, Met. Onuphry pointed out, the seizures have only increased in recent months.

In the Kiev Diocese alone, 41 parishes have been illegally reregistered, of these 22 have been physically seized, and 19 are still defending their rights in court, “suffering humiliation and violence.”

The Council also talked about the possibility of resuming the practice of making Chrism in Kiev, which the UOC Holy Synod decided to do at its session on Nov. 23.

His Beatitude also reported on the Kiev Diocese’s social service over the past year, noting that the Church remains with its people even in the most difficult of times.

Churches and monasteries are equipped with shelters, and the clergy and faithful of the diocese joined in defense of the motherland and in comprehensive assistance to soldiers, hospitals, civilians, displaced persons, and all in need. The clergy also helped evacuate people

The diocese also provided 4 cars and more than 240,000 hryvnia ($6,500) for the Ukrainian army. It also provided 31 tons of food and medicine, ammunition, and wax and paraffin for trench candles.

“Good deeds are the only wealth that everyone will take with them into eternity and which will determine the further fate of the soul. We pray that these good deeds will become the key to eternal life with God,” Met. Onuphry exhorted.

And turning to diocesan statistics, His Beatitude reported that the diocese currently has 393 parishes. Besides those that have been seized, four voluntarily joined the schismatic OCU in the past year. In total, there are 848 clerics in Kiev Diocese churches and monasteries—19 more than in 2021. The diocese has 22 monasteries—12 for men and 10 for women.

Over the past year, four churches were consecrated, though four were completely destroyed, and another 15 were damaged throughout the Kiev Province.

In conclusion, Met. Onuphry said:

We thank God for everything. I urge everyone to focus on prayer, fasting, and the responsible fulfillment of their Church duties. I ask you to support our parishioners and help each other. Let us continue to pray for peace in Ukraine and to work for the good of our state and the holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

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Gary 12/15/2022 12:26 pm
Let's pray that the political powers that be bring this war to a good end for all of God's people.
Alex12/15/2022 2:21 am
May God strengthen the clergy and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church!
Nicholas Pantelopoulos12/15/2022 2:01 am
Lord have mercy. Christ is no longer among us. We can no longer call ourselves the Church of Christ. Where there is no obedience to seniority, there is only conflict, war and satanic division, caused by defective teaching upheld by demonic pride. What is left are but golden vestments and long beards and hair, ceremonies and theatrics, and operas with byzantine choreography to cover a rotting spirituality once owned by the Pharisees. The faith of the holy Fathers (how even dare to call them "our Fathers"?) in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is blasphemed because National interests and ideology have been given precedence over the Unity of the Church. The claim of Nationhood over the Church, with titles like, "Russian", "Greek", "Serbian", "Bulgarian", "Polish", are not only a stain in the Body of the Church but the worst heresy of all heresies since the Arian and Nestorian heresies that denied the Godhead - Divinity of Christ. Antichrist is Statehood over the Church. Antichrist is any leader who is willing to tear the unity of the Orthodox Church to serve ideological or imperial interests. Antichrist is any bishop and clergy that not only resist but follows along and is willing to rip the unity of the Church in pieces. Obedience to seniority was the only path to avoid all of it. There are no winners. There only victims of Satan. Lord have mercy. Why even call oneself a priest at all?
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