Sunday, July 30, 2023

Ukrainian Orthodox priests call for break with Moscow following Russian attack on cathedral

  Priests of the UOC-MP urge Metropolitan Onufriy to convene a Council and sever ties with the ROC - фото 1
Priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) have called on Metropolitan Onufriy to convene a Council and definitively sever ties with the Russian Orthodox Church following a hostile missile strike on the Transfiguration Cathedral in Odesa.

The corresponding request was published on July 23, Glavkom reports.

The appeal, signed by nearly 300 priests of the Moscow Patriarchate, was published on July 23 and reported by Glavkom. 

In it, they condemn the destruction of the Transfiguration Cathedral in Odesa as barbaric and urge the immediate and final break with the Russian Orthodox Church due to the Russian occupiers' genocide against Ukrainians. 

Representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate believe that this is the only way for the UOC-MP to free itself from Russian influence and defend the interests of the Ukrainian people.

"We will never see thousands of Ukrainians under the sunny sky again, never write a lyrical poem, never give a flower to a loved one, never hold our own child in our arms... All this unimaginable human suffering, all this horror, is happening in the name of Satan's 'justice' from the marshes of Moscow! How sad it is, but our Church did not find an adequate response to these words of the Patriarch," the appeal states.

"We do not want to suffer for Russia, Putin, or Kirill. And most of us have the impression that our persecution is for them, not for Christ," emphasized the representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate.

In the open letter, the priests describe Russia's aggression against Ukraine as "Satanic" and condemn the support of the war by Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev.

"You are well aware that despite the unanimous decisions, everyone who wanted to continue commemorating Patriarch Kirill was doing so, and there were quite explicit statements about unity with the Russian Orthodox Church from individual hierarchs of the UOC-MP. At the same time, they emphasized in Moscow at the right moment that the UOC-MP remains part of the Russian Orthodox Church, and our clergy, by and large, did not try to convince either Ukrainians or Russians otherwise. Thus, it can only be stated that there was no real rupture with the Russian Orthodox Church. In such circumstances, almost a year after the start of the war, the government has taken a course to liquidate the UOC-MP," the appeal reads.

The authors of the letter accuse the Russian Orthodox Church of supporting Russian aggression and call on Metropolitan Onufriy to take a clear position.

"...we call on you again and again to urgently convene the Council of the UOC-MP, where the final break with the Russian Orthodox Church should take place, along with the condemnation of Patriarch Kirill's position and that of the clergy subordinate to him, both in relation to Putin's aggressive war and the annexation of Ukrainian dioceses. Only then will it not only preserve our Church but also give it the moral right to further exist in the Ukrainian State," the appeal concludes.

Tomorrow, the signatories will attempt to meet with Metropolitan Onufriy to personally deliver the appeal.

However, the situation is not without controversy. Some signatures, such as that of Metropolitan Antony Pakanych, were removed. The purpose of these detractors, as the banned UOC-MP Father Andriy Pinchuk stated, is to turn the signing of the appeal into a circus rather than a substantive discussion. Yet, this won't deter us," he emphasized.

It is worth noting that on the night of July 23, the Transfiguration Cathedral in Odesa, which is the largest Orthodox church in the city, was destroyed in a Russian missile attack. The cathedral was established in 1794 and was destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1936. It was later rebuilt in the early 2000s at the same location.

Vicar of the Eparchy of Odesa of the UOC-MP Archbishop Viktor (Bykov) also addressed Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all members of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, condemning the "senseless aggression of the Russian Federation" against Independent Ukraine. He also called on the Russian Church to "retreat" from the UOC-MP.

In addition, Odesa Metropolitan of the Moscow Patriarchate Agafangel, in his address to the clergy and believers of the Eparchy of Odesa, called the Russian attack on the Transfiguration Cathedral in Odesa a real genocide of the Ukrainian people. Previously, the Metropolitan was one of the staunchest supporters of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. 

He emphasized that the heart of the peaceful city of Odesa - the Transfiguration Cathedral - now lies in ruins. Agafangel stressed that whatever the so-called "special military operation" goal might be, it cannot justify murder, violence, destruction, and forced displacement.

Moreover, not all priests of the Moscow Patriarchate condemn the Russian aggression, and some even support the war and pray for Putin. 

After the missile attack on the cathedral in Odesa on July 23, videos appeared online showing UOC-MP priests continuing to remain silent about the Russian terrorist attacks against Ukraine's civilian infrastructure.

It should be noted that the Russian Church has once again shown its disgraceful conduct and falsely claimed that Ukrainians themselves destroyed the cathedral.