I recently spotted a new conflict in social media. It’s the UOP-MP [Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine] against media loyal to the OCU [Orthodox Church of Ukraine] and government.
In short: Fr. Mykola Danylevych, a spokesman for the UOC-MP, said that since the government doesn’t allow the UOC-MP to have its chaplains in the Army, it should also refrain from drafting the UOC-MP’s faithful.
The media covered the statement, claiming that the UOC-MP is urges its faithful to skip army duty. In response, Father Mykola dismissed this as manipulation.
The journalists, in fact, did somewhat exaggerate things in their headlines, twisting Fr. Mykola’s words in certain regard. It’s true. He said it differently: either let the Moscow Patriarchate get into the army, or stop conscripting the faithful of the Moscow Patriarchate. But behind this private incident lies a much more serious problem.
The UOC-MP hasn’t reconsidered the war experience and its own shameful activities in Donbas. They purged the Internet of mentions of separatist priests. There are no video clips anymore, such as those showing some monks praying while loading guns to be used against the Ukrainian troops. But they never admitted, even to themselves, it seems, the facts where clerics would try to make soldiers flip sides (see, guys, we do know a lot).
Moreover, [pro-Russian MP and ROC sponsor Vadym] Novynsky continues to persistently and publicly claim that weapons had never been stored in the Donbas monastery, and that no clerics supported the Russian proxy forces. Who would even be interested in his words? Who is he trying to deceive?
The government’s move to keep the Moscow Patriarchate’s chaplains away from the Army is a consequence of its forced measure to defend itself. Even if there are only a couple of the “Russian world” adepts per dozen adequate military priests of the UOC-MP), this still has to be done. Is this a restriction of rights of the Moscow Patriarchate chaplains? It is. Also, it is ensuring the rights to freedom of choice of the faithful and the very survival of the country.
And most importantly, I believe that they could’ve started everything from scratch. They should just discuss in their circle this disgraceful period of life in general, decide on a further strategy, stop playing a role of the offended ones (without a reason), stop bringing dozens of thugs to the villages where the whole community switched to the OCU, stop pushing the faithful to sue an OCU priest after the whole village turned to the Local Church. (Two dozen lawsuits against a single OCU cleric in Vinnytsia – who needs this anyway?), stop doing their favorite thing – opposing themselves to the state. What’s up with that convention in Pochaiv, huh? Preserving yourselves in your spiritual ghetto? And you’re still complaining? Hasn’t it made you bored already?