It may seem surprising and incredible, but in almost every village where a church was seized (over 100 places, mainly in the western regions of Ukraine) a new one has already been built, or is under construction, or funds are being raised for its construction.
The life of a child may be compared to the purity of a crystal object, equally beautiful and precious. It is so easy to shatter this beauty and harmony and so difficult to restore it, just as it‘s hard to glue a shattered crystal vase back together.
The Lord constantly cares for His Church, the Orthodox Church worldwide and each Local Orthodox Church in particular. The Lord also takes care of each diocese, monastery, and the most remote rural parish. Every parish, every believer is under the watchful eye and providential care of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Father Vasily came from the “godforsaken village” of Zhmiyevka [in the Ivankov district of the Kiev region, Ukraine.—Trans.], as the villagers themselves called it, near Chernobyl, where 100 people remained to live out their day—mostly pensioners, and even some gypsy families who had occupied deserted huts.
Currently, their major goal is self-validation. To achieve this, for one, they use state political leverage in an attempt to gain, in league with Patriarch Bartholomew, recognition of their leadership by all Autocephalous Orthodox Churches, even sacrificing Philaret, who conceived them, on their way. On the other hand, they initiated a massive rewriting of history.
The Church cannot be changed as secular institutions are changed in our times. The Lord established His Church, and He preserves it. At this time, introducing the status of autocephaly and autonomy is an act which I consider to be dangerous and unnecessary.
When I see footage of people in camouflage with Right Sector armbands, swearing and shouting, with rebar and weapons in hand, throwing bloodied elderly people out of churches, beating priests, cutting locks, kicking down church doors—in a word, rioting—my heart bleeds.
Despite internal vicissitudes, the actions of schismatics, and political attacks, life itself has testified that the canonical Church has a healthy core that the gates of hell cannot overcome.
The village of Sidorovichi is situated close to the Exclusion Zone, an area with a 19-mile radius surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, where the radioactive contamination from nuclear fallout is highest and inhabitation is illegal due to the ecological catastrophe resulting from the disaster of April 26, 1986.
In this interview, Fr. Markell discusses freedom in general and the freedom of the Church in particular, how spiritual freedom and political freedom are related, whether a Christian can be free when the Church of Christ is politically oppressed, and what relations are like between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian state today.
Probably the main conclusion that we can draw already today is that we have shown ourselves to be completely unprepared for such contemporary challenges. We are acutely in need of rethinking the external forms of the life of the Orthodox Church in force majeure situations.
I viewed priests as angelic beings. As though my emaciated soul said to me: “These people serve Christ as His faithful servants, conduct the sacraments and prayers; they are the bearers of the grace of God! Oh, I wish I could become like them!”
This means that it is necessary to develop and possess a liturgical concept of the life of the Church, should suddenly society really does encounter a deadly infection, or contamination of territories with poisons, or radiation, without the possibility of evacuation.
If for foreign Orthodox philocatholic hierarchs, their drift towards the Unia seems conscious and long-desired, then they will lead our schismatics from the OCU there on a short leash, without asking their opinion.
The confessor of the Kiev theological schools Archimandrite Markell (Pavuk) speaks on the importance of the Sacrament of confession, about how to properly prepare for it and which sins and weaknesses to especially pay attention to, with what kind of attitude to approach the Sacrament with, about what to remember after having confessed, about lifetime confession, and on a repentant attitude.
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry is our good pastor. And we see that he decides all things with God, through God, and in God. He humbly and meekly endures the trials and tribulations with his flock, suffering with his flock and praying for his flock.
Thus, as it was in the first centuries of Christianity and during the Communist persecutions in the twentieth century, Fr. Ilia and his faithful parishioners gather in the homes of different people in secret for worship to avoid possible reprisals by the schismatics and their patrons, who don’t scruple to use any means to sully the archpriest’s good name.
I arrived to the Kiev Station, I dropped my bags at the checkroom, but where to go, I didn’t know… I didn’t even know the name of a single monastery and I was scared to ask—maybe they’d suddenly take me somewhere. I crossed myself: “Lord, bless!” and I started off.
When we asked him: “In honor of which saint should our church be named?” Father, having thought for a while, answered: “In honor of the Holy Royal Martyrs”. Then we asked: “And why in their honor?” Father looked on affectionately, turning his gaze to the horizon, and replied: “Well, after all, the Tsar Family helped to care for the sick! And we have sick children here…”
In this talk with His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine on the Church of Christ and pseudo-churches, the primate speaks about what it means for him personally to be in the Church and how he makes decisions that could affect the fate of many people.
How can we combine the modern rhythm of life with our life in Church during the week before Pascha? And in general, how can we combine the religious and the secular in our lives—the spiritual and the daily routine?
The disciplinary measure in this case is a warning to all the faithful of the Russian Church and the entire Orthodox world that the Phanar has violated the canons of Orthodoxy, that it has openly declared the heresy of Eastern papism.
And here are the proud speeches about racial superiority and religious exclusivity: “’O God, I thank Thee,’ and other foolish words…” The Patriarch says such things so openly and pretentiously that it’s even become frightful.
If we love God, we love everyone—our father and mother, our neighbor and fatherland, as well as other peoples. If we do not love God, we will never be able to love anyone; we will always be prone to committing a sin.
We can’t stand down from our Christian principles, because on them depends our salvation and our eternal lot. We can’t stand down like the politicians, moving to the left or to the right, or making compromises. What compromises can there be? There is either paradise or hell: What compromise can there be here?
Not one politician, not one man can meddle in the life of Christ’s Church, because the Church is His Body, and to encroach upon the Church’s order means encroaching on Christ Himself.
Not a single monk will compromise his conscience, leave the monastery, or endorse the new evil currents with the creation of the so-called United Local Church.
The 1030th anniversary celebration of the Baptism of Rus’ revealed new tendencies in the church life of Ukraine, made manifest in the hidden attitudes of society towards the church. What were the spiritual results of this anniversary? Has the danger of the non-canonical legalization of the schism ceased? What is the spiritual status of the Ukrainian flock? When will peace finally come to Ukraine?
There are innumerable examples of the intercession and help of the Theotokos, and every pilgrim and parishioner of the Lavra still experiences this aid. The Mother of God also appeared here in 1240 in a pillar of fire and left her footprint on a rock. She, like the burning bush, bore witnesses that this place is holy. She is the abbess here and the patroness of this land…
On the second day of the Nativity, January 8, on the eve of the evening services, about thirty men in balaclavas and masks from the radical right organization C14 (“Sich”) blocked the entrance to the territory of the Holy Dormition Kiev-Caves Lavra. Shouting political slogans and lighting fireworks, they demanded a meeting with the abbot of the Lavra, Metropolitan Paul (Lebed).
Every year on this day many people gather near her grave at the ancient Zverinets cemetery-necropolis in Kiev where numerous Florovsky Convent’s nuns and representatives of Kiev clergy rest. There are several elderly nuns at the Florovsky Convent who remember Blessed Olga, a “Fool-for-Christ” and a clairvoyant holy woman.
“Sorrows bring joy and salvation to true Christians, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Rom. 10:13).” These were Metropolitan Sergy’s words of consolation to his flock—parishioners of a church in the Kuty village of the Shumsk district of Ukraine’s Ternopil region in August this year, where he celebrated the Divine Liturgy in a tent.
Schismatics from the village of Gribovitsa took over the residence of a priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Fr. Igor Magrita, where the family has been living since 1998, and as night fell, began throwing his household possessions and pushing his wife and sixteen-year-old son out into the street. It was raining…
And for all these years and even decades Vladyka Sergy has repeated this phrase many times: “Persecution is the test of our faith.” For, according to Christ, Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven (Mt. 5:11-12).
Archpriest Vasily Rusinka tells how the Church-state relations in Ukraine have developed over the past two decades and what has now changed, and what the Church has been doing to protect Her rights from infringements by the new legislative initiatives promoted by some deputies.
"Fr. Kirill lived according to the Gospel, unswervingly fulfilling the commandments of Christ. He found a Gospel in a building destroyed by shelling during the war, when death was hovering all around. Thus the Lord called him. He carried the Gospel with him and read it, and every word of Christ remained in his heart until the end of his days. In this way the desire to devote his whole life to God was born."
Further on in her life we read how she was miraculously freed from prison, and how the Apostle Peter appeared to her. In light of this fact and her later life of prayer, it becomes clear why she prayed so many years directly in front of the large icon of the Apostles Peter and Paul located in the right side-altar of the Demeyevsky Church in Kiev.
Yes, not long before his death he was tonsured a monk and given the name Pavel. After his death, certain others tried to copy him, but with time they understood that it is impossible to emulate him. He was a unique individual, and the God gave him the gift to be what he was. Madmen called his life madness, but he is among the righteous and his lot is with the saints.