Bosanski Petrovac, Bosnia and Herzegovina, April 11, 2023
Another hierarch of the Orthodox world is speaking out in defense of the persecuted Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the monks of the Kiev Caves Lavra.
His Grace Bishop Sergije of Bihać and Petrovac of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina says that the Lavra is the Golgotha of the world today, and that the priests of the UOC are “exiles in their own country, who are arrested without grounds, beaten without mercy, punished without guilt or trial.”
What is happening in Ukraine is an attack on Orthodoxy, the Serbian hierarch believes, motivated by the same people who motivated Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to attack the Russian and Ukrainian Churches by entering into communion with the graceless schismatics in 2018.
The Serbian primate, His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije, has made the same argument.
Notably, Bp. Sergije speaks of the “Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate,” though the UOC hasn’t considered itself part of the Moscow Patriarchate for nearly a year now.
Over the past 30 years, we’ve witnessed many historical events that have reshaped the world in which we were born. Not only did large states disappear and a larger number of small states arose from them, but also for 30 years there have been numerous (un)successful attempts to fragment the Orthodox Church into as many Local Churches as possible, each of which would serve the state and not God and the faithful. When this intention doesn’t achieve its desired outcome, then they resort to the formation of non-canonical churches in order to break the unity of the Orthodox world.
What’s happening today to the Russians and their Russian Orthodox Church is nothing new and unknown to us, the Serbs. Many attacks have been attempted against the unity of the Serbian Orthodox Church, starting with those in Macedonia and ending with those in Montenegro, where a declining political party, together with its eternal president, tried to expel the Serbian Orthodox Church from the territory of the state of Montenegro, forgetting that the same state was born in the monastic quarters of that same Church.
In Kosovo and Metohija, we have countless attempts to steal the Serbian spiritual and historical heritage, attempts to appropriate the Serbian Orthodox heritage and place it within the framework of the non-existent Kosovo-Albanian medieval heritage. In today’s language, they want to put other people’s content in their own wrapper.
The same thing is happening now in the spiritual soil of Rus’, in the capital of today’s Ukraine. The recipe is the same, divide et impera—divide and conquer! This project has been in the works for years, even decades. The goal is to separate and cause brothers of the same faith to quarrel, to divide the Church of Christ, and to forever dismember the people on whose strength depends the fate of all of mankind.
Those who always invoke freedom and democracy are silent today about the persecution of Orthodox monks in the Kiev Caves Lavra, which was and remains with the only canonical church on the soil of Ukraine—the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. The West is silent about the persecution of Metropolitan Pavel, abbot of the Kiev Caves Lavra, and his fearless monasticism. This silence is not the result of their weakness, but a clear recognition that behind everything are all those who persuaded the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to give legitimacy to the non-canonical church structure with his signature, for which there is no ecclesiological and canonical basis.
The hypocritical West has vilely bowed its head over what they themselves devised, they have already sent out the aged Patriarch Bartholomew to, on their behalf, stick a knife in the heart of Russian Orthodoxy—in “Holy Kiev,” as the great Njegoš once called it
The prayers of Orthodox Serbs today are with Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev, whose priests are exiles in their own country, who are arrested without grounds, beaten without mercy, punished without guilt or trial. For them, there is no freedom in a spiritually poisoned country, enslaved by its own regime, which draws borders that never existed with the blood of its brothers.
Today, the Kiev Caves Lavra is the Golgotha of the Orthodox world. Those who are crucified in it today by persecution, will be resurrected tomorrow by freedom, because there is no resurrection without death!
Let no one doubt that!
What Studenica, Žiča, and the Peć Patriarchate are for the Serbs, the Kiev Caves Lavra is for Kiev-Rus’.