Uzhgorod, Zakarpattia Province, Ukraine, and Kiev, May 3, 2023
While the war in Ukraine has undoubtedly had a huge impact on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, there is also at times some encouraging news.
Since the start of the war in February 2022, the violent seizure of churches considerably ramped up, and some parishes did voluntarily join the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” At least one monastery, in western Lviv, has even joined the OCU.
Provincial and city administrations throughout the country have declared bans on the Orthodox Church, and more recently they have begun simply depriving the Church of the plots of land on which its churches sit.
At the same time, there have occasionally been those politicians who recognize that they have no authority or right to ban the Church, as recently stated by the City Council of Kropivnitska in central Ukraine and the mayor of Nikopol in southern Ukraine.
And as is well known, the state is actively trying to evict the Church from the Kiev Caves Lavra and has taken aim against specific hierarchs, clerics, and monastics.
But despite the pressure, not a single parish of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the far western Zakarpattia Province has applied to join the schismatics, the Provincial administration reported last month to zahid.espreso.tv.
Altogether, the UOC has 623 religious communities in the Province, and not a single one has decided to leave the Church since the war began last February.
At the same time, the administration continues to refer to the UOC as part of the Moscow Patriarchate despite the fact that it separated itself from the Moscow Patriarchate nearly a year ago.
Likewise, a deputy of the Kiev City Council recently revealed that not a single UOC parish in Kiev has petitioned to join the schismatics since the beginning of the war. In fact, only seven have petitioned to transfer since 2019—a situation the deputy calls “disappointing.”