"Public Orthodoxy" Defends the Persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church


Recently Public Orthodoxy published an article by Lidiya Lozova, in which she excused the government sponsored persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and alleged that this reflects the popular opinion of the Ukrainian people. After expressing her objection to the use of violence as a means of "resolving conflicts among church communities in Ukraine" (i.e. the use of violence when government backed Nazi thugs* steal Church property from the canonical Church in order to give it to the schismatics** under Epiphony Dumenko), she goes on to blame this violent persecution on the people being persecuted, suggested essentially that they asked for it and have it coming, and then she denies almost completely the role of the Ukrainian government in ginning up that violence in the first place:

"...in the context of international sympathies expressed to the UOC [Ukrainian Orthodox Church] today, I have to admit that the social opposition and violence directed at this church in Ukrainian society is not an artificial construct of the Ukrainian authorities; it is, in my opinion, a reaction to the hidden structural violence, which has been present in the matrix of this organization since 1990s and especially after 2014, when the leadership of the UOC changed" [Emphasis added].

She makes this assertion, despite the fact that we have countless videos of the police assisting in this violence, and we have figures in the government controlled Ukrainian media calling for violence against the Ukrainian Church -- not to mention laws that legally ban the UOC from legally functioning in various cities and provinces, and a proposed ban that would eliminate them from the entire country.

One of many videos chronicling the active role of the Ukrainian government in the violent seizures of Ukrainian Orthodox Church. More can be found on the YouTube channel of the Union of Orthodox Journalists.

She goes on to attribute the cause for this violent opposition to the fact that the Ukrainian Church teaches its people to observe Church order and discipline, and also to view even the bad things that we experience in this life as being for our salvation -- just as St. John Chrysostom himself not only taught with his words, but more importantly taught by his deeds as he endured severe persecution, and ended his life, by saying "Glory to God for all things."

Among the alleged transgressions the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is accused of by the author, is supposedly that some priests have refused to do funerals for Ukrainian soldiers... though she provides no specific information on that. Likely, if there were such cases, the refusal would have been due to the fact that the soldiers in question were not members of the canonical Orthodox Church. Countless funerals have been performed for soldiers who were members of the UOC.

She goes on to make the assertion:

"In short, the UOC as a whole is not welcomed in Ukraine in spite of their participation in the humanitarian aid efforts and the service of many UOC members in the Ukrainian Armed Forces."

She, however, presents us with no reason to believe that this assertion is true. But even if, for the sake of argument, we were to assume that it was true, it would be true in the context of the Ukrainian government controlling the media, and the people in Ukraine being fed a constant stream of propaganda accusing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of being disloyal. Anyone who deviates from the government narrative puts themselves at risk of both judicial and extra-judicial punishment [aka public lynchings]. So there is in fact no objective way to measure the actual opinions of the people in Ukraine at the present.

We can, however, gauge the opinions of people who actually go to Church in Ukraine, because we consistently see that when Churches have been stolen from the canonical Church, they are either left padlocked, or the number of people attending the schismatic services is a mere fraction of the number who attended the Church before.

After Epiphony was made the head of the combined schismatic Church, the Ukrainian government tried to pad the numbers of people attending things like his procession on St. Vladimir's day, but even with the addition of government employees, and people being bussed into Kiev from western Ukraine, the crowd was dwarfed by the number of people in the canonical procession. More recently, after the Ukrainian government seized some of the churches in the Kiev caves, Epiphony has only conducted a few services there, (though previously a full cycle of daily services were held when these were in the hands of the canonical Church) and even with people being bussed in, the crowds are very sparse, whereas the crowds attending the services of the canonical Church in Ukraine remain packed.

Though the author states that she is "not fully satisfied with the actions of the state and the reaction from the OCU [the schismatic Ukrainian Church] members..." She fails to honestly confront the role of the Ukrainian government, nor does she give the reader any real idea of the scope and severity of the persecution of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. One day, when the full truth of what has been going on in Ukraine is more widely known, she may have reason to be embarrassed that she made excuses for those who were persecuting the faithful under the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Metropolitan Onuphry.

* When I speak of "Nazi thugs," I am not using the term "Nazi" as a pejorative slur. I am referring to the actual Nazis that are usually the ring leaders behind the seizure of Church in Ukraine. For example, Yevhen Karas is the head of the Nazi group "C14." You can see the role his group has been playing recently in this video from the Union of Orthodox Journalists. You will see Yevhen Karas prominently featured in this video which takes about the role of Nazis in Ukraine. The fact that the government is backing them is shown by the fact that they are allowed to operate freely and openly engage in violent assaults directed at innocent people. Given the manpower shortage the Ukrainian army has, one has to wonder why so many young men are allowed to engage in such things, and remain out of uniform and out of the war. What one makes of these facts is up to them, but these are indeed facts.

** That Epiphony is the head of schismatic Church is laid out in the following articles:

What's Going on in Ukraine? Part 1: The Historical Background

What's Going on in Ukraine? Part 2: The Canonical Issues

An American Perspective on the Ukraine Crisis

Furthermore, I would point out that the fact that the monastics in Ukraine have overwhelmingly remained loyal to Metropolitan Onuphry should tell any pious Orthodox Christian everything that they need to know about who is legitimate, and who is not.

Archpriest Nectarios Trevino 7/13/2023 5:35 am
Dear Father, please accept my profound thanks for your article. As close as Ms Lozova was to Orthodox leadership it’s unfortunate she failed to learn more. Not once in her article does she mention prayer. You can tell when a person is leaving or has left the Church by whether or not they are praying. It’s my first question after repentance, “How’s your prayer life?” The answer tells volumes. M’s Lozova never mentions prayer and the humility it entails. Truth is not relative. Truth is truth and objective. It’s the creeping in “of the world” that allows for the delusional writing you have amply rebutted. In XC, fr nectarios
J.B.7/12/2023 5:52 pm
I feel deeply sorry for those who are orchestrating the persecutions against the canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine as well as those useful idiots who are carry it out. If these frauds and abusers refuse to repent in this life, all that can be said is that there is no punishment imaginable in this life that can do justice for all the evils that they've carried out against the People of God. It is a frightful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. May He-That-Is, Christ our true God, have mercy on them!
Cat7/12/2023 10:39 am
Unlike the journalists, UOC supporters are on side of common sense and morality, while the other side is driven by mob mentality and fear. Even president Zelensky used to be benevolent towards UOC and refused some of the persecutive laws. Everyone changed after the war broke out. Ukrainian Orthodoxy will never be the same after this. Shame on the international community for closing their eyes to this blatant abuse.
Benjamin7/11/2023 5:04 pm
Ukrainian Nazis can basically be more accurately described as Useful Idiots (a term VI Lenin coined) Liberals are useful idiots for communists because they’ll de-facto downplay various red atrocities Conservatives are useful idiots for liberals because they’ll adopt all the liberal positions, just 5-10 years after those positions are no longer the avant garde of liberalism And Nazis are useful idiots for Blackrock, Vangard, and the globalist elites in this same way— like, Zelenski has talked about using “immigration” to repopulate Ukraine and supports all this LGBT and Western Euro cultural stuff, and the neo-Nazis go along with it because they wrap it up in 1930s imagery and symbolism. It would be like taking LSD daily for pain management because the pill bottle it’s sold in says “aspirin”
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