Tbilisi, April 25, 2023
Several clerics of the Georgian Orthodox recently issued an appeal concerning the situation with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The priests deplore the state-sponsored persecution of the Church, emphasizing the responsibility that the Patriarch of Constantinople and the U.S. bear for what is happening. A Church Council should be held to condemn Patriarch Bartholomew, the priests believe.
Late last month, His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II appealed to Pat. Bartholomew on behalf of the persecuted Ukrainian Church, asking him to intercede on its behalf.
Nevertheless, Pat. Bartholomew has neither said nor done anything to help the persecuted UOC or the Kiev Caves Lavra.
The Georgian priests stated:
Archpriest David Isakadze, Church of the Great Martyr Marina:
We’ve dedicated several talks to what’s happening around the Church in Ukraine. Unfortunately, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew played a major role in forming the schismatic group of the false Metropolitan Epiphany, which is currently persecuting the canonical Ukrainian Church, which is under the leadership of Metropolitan Onuphry. He acted unlawfully, interfering in the jurisdiction of another Church, which is a canonical violation and deserving of punishment.
We hope a Church Council will judge him, and if it doesn’t happen in this world, there’s nowhere he can go to escape God’s Judgment. At the same time, in Ukraine, the rights of the Ukrainian Orthodox are being violated first of all. We pray for our Ukrainian Orthodox brothers and sisters. When St. Gregory the Theologian arrived in Constantinople, there was only one Orthodox church—all the rest had been seized by Arians, but then Orthodoxy triumphed. In the same way, Orthodoxy will prevail in Ukraine as well.
Archpriest David Nozaidze, Church of St. Mark of Ephesus, Photios the Great, and Gregory Palamas:
We can say outright that Orthodoxy in Ukraine is being persecuted by both the authorities and non-believers, who put forth false accusations, indiscriminately branding people as “Russian agents.” Metropolitan Onuphry and his flock have dedicated their entire lives to the rebirth of Orthodoxy in Ukraine. If anything good happens, it’s thanks to them.
Archpriest Guram Gamtsemlidze, Church of the Three Holy Hierarchs:
There’s a religious war against Orthodoxy in Ukraine being carried out by the USA, the satanic collective of the West, and the Ukrainian Nazi government, with the help of the Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Satanism and Nazism complement each other well. Orthodoxy has the grace of unbroken Apostolic Succession on its side, and on the other side there is schism and godlessness.
Fr. Photi Zumbadze, Church of the Great Martyr Marina:
The vandalism and persecution of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church are carried out together by Zelensky’s puppet government, the Uniates, and Epiphany’s schismatic group. In Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk, there are cases of Orthodox churches being burned, mass destruction by heavy machinery, and burning by Molotov cocktails, the desecration of icons and other sacred items, and the seizure of churches.
The Uniates and schismatics “concelebrate molebens of thanksgiving-parakleses” in the desecrated churches, they hold concerts, they worship Perun—they hold pagan rituals. And all this is happening by means of the coordinated actions of the government and this graceless religious organization. I agree with the fathers here: All this is happening in accordance with orders received “from above.”
Archpriest David Isakadze:
We also express support for Metropolitan Pavel, abbot of the Kiev Caves Lavra, who is accused of “aiding and abetting Russian aggression and inter-religious enmity” and has been placed under house arrest. Also, many are displeased with the fact that Metropolitan Pavel doesn’t recognize the schismatics. The Metropolitan responds: “If I say something different about their canonicity, it would be a sin before God.”