On October 10, when the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine (the so-called UOC-MP) celebrated the 30th anniversary of its diocese in the Donetsk region, the deputy head of the Svyatogorsk Lavra, Metropolitan Arseniy (Yakovenko), made a statement about the “people of Donbas.”
Meanwhile, Onufriy chose not to visit the occupied territories to avoid any reputational damage.
That’s according to a post by Ukraine-based religious expert Oleksandr Yefremenko.
“As the head of the Lavra, Arseniy (Yakovenko), was welcoming Onufriy (Berezovsky) on the monastery premises, he stated the following (in Russian):” Your Beatitude, today, when the Donetsk diocese celebrates its 30th anniversary, the Svyatogorsk Lavra celebrates alongside, and so do the people of Donbas. The people of Donbas have never been divided in preserving unity of the canonical Church…,” Yefremenko wrote.
He added that the ROCinU remained extremely clumsy in hiding own support for the ideology imposed by the Kremlin.
… Russian propaganda, which categorically rejects the idea of a separate Ukrainian people existing apart from Russia, suddenly invented and is now cultivating and spreading the assertion of a separate, independent ‘people of Donbas.’ It is clear that the Kremlin, which categorically opposes the Ukrainian national identity and tries to destroy any manifestation of the Ukrainian people, supports the idea of the ‘people of Donbas’ solely to strengthen separatism among Ukrainian citizens and, including residents of eastern regions,” said the expert.
According to Oleksandr Yefremenko, such remarks by the Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine testify that “the bishops of the ROCinU obediently picked up and spread propaganda narratives, speaking in opposition to the Ukrainian state and acting to the detriment of the Ukrainian people.”
The religious expert also recalled that about a month ago, Metropolitan Arseniy (Yakovenko), during one of his sermons, vowed allegiance to the Russian Church and personally to Moscow Patriarch Kirill (Gundyaev).
“So what do the words of Metropolitan Arseniy (Yakovenko) about loyalty to the Russian Church, which is professed in the Svyatogorsk Lavra and by all ‘people of Donbas’ really mean? It is not easy to believe that this is a ridiculous coincidence and a faux pa made by an ROCinU bishop,” Yefremenko concluded.
Earlier, Yakovenko also claimed it was Ukraine that had started the war.
It should be recalled that Ukraine’s religious expert Oleksandr Yefremenko earlier said ROCinU clerics had repeatedly traveled to Africa to recruit individual clergymen ready to sow split in local churches. He also wrote that Moscow was splitting Orthodoxy, while blaming Constantinople precisely for that.