Jordanville, New York, March 24, 2023
A sizable group of clergy within the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia are raising their voice in defense of the persecuted Ukrainian Orthodox Church and brotherhood of the Kiev Caves Lavra and are calling on others to do the same.
A Lenten retreat for the clergy of the northern deaneries of the Eastern American Diocese of ROCOR was held at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York, earlier this week, at which the hierarchs and clerics adopted a resolution.
The text notes that the clergy prayed both for their own flocks and “especially for our persecuted brothers and sisters of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, led by His Beatitude Onuphry, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.”
The clergy also call upon all Orthodox Christians and governmental and social institutions to come to the defense of the persecuted Ukrainian Church:
As citizens of the United States—founded 250 years ago on the principles of religious rights and freedoms—we ask all of the Orthodox Christians living in this country, as well as its politicians, representatives of various governmental institutions and social organizations, to raise their voices in defense of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, her archpastors, clergy, monastics, and the millions of parishioners who have been subjected to years of persecution by their own government. Having learned of the closure of the Near and Far Caves of the Kiev Caves Lavra—the cradle of Orthodoxy in Rus’—and the looming eviction of all of its monks and inhabitants, including the students of the Kiev Theological Schools—we express our vigorous protest against the actions of the Ukrainian government toward the canonical Church, which nourishes the overwhelming majority of that country’s citizens.
The resolution is signed by His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of ROCOR, and His Grace Bishop Luke of Syracuse, abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery.
There have been many such calls and expressions of support coming from within the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
On December 8, the Synod of Bishops
expressed its alarm over the aggression and violence directed against the life of the canonical Church on the territory of Ukraine, calling upon all those in positions of authority not to close their eyes but to lift their voices and insist on the reestablishment and observance of the elementary rights and religious freedoms of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, the archpastors, pastors and many millions who constitute the flock of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Later in December, His Eminence Metropolitan Mark of Berlin issued a statement to the German public, calling for increased prayers for the persecuted UOC.
In early January, the First Hierarch of ROCOR, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas sent a message of love, support, and prayers to His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod, the abbot of the persecuted Kiev Caves Lavra, and last month, he made a specific call for the clergy and faithful of his diocese to increase their prayers for the UOC.
Earlier this month, a special moleben for Met. Onuphry and the flock of the Ukrainian Church was held at Holy Trinity Monastery, and His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe has also issued his own call and statement of support.
Bishops from the Bulgarian and Serbian Churches and the Orthodox Church in America have also raised their voices. Most recently, Mother Christophora and the sisterhood of the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Pennsylvania also issued a video appeal.