Metropolitan Onufriy (Berezovsky) is actively studying the opinion of the ROCinU bishops on the eve of the announced meeting of bishops, priests, monks, and laity of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine.
That’s according to sources from among the ROCinU clergy, including those serving in the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, who spoke is told on condition of anonymity, religious expert Oleksandr Yefremenko reports.
The said meeting has been scheduled for May 27, 2022 (the final date is yet to be changed), which was announced during the previous meeting of the UOC-MP Synod.
As part of preparations for the meeting, what impressed many clergymen of the Moscow Patriarchate was actions and instructions that were not standard for the said religious organization.
The first thing the sources point out is the personal order of the head of the UOC-MP, Metropolitan Onufriy (Berezovsky), to bishops to file letters laying down their OWN (!) point of view and OWN (!) vision of the UOC-MP’s future as a religious organization.
First of all, this is about whether it is expedient or not to maintain administrative unity with the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as the possibility of the UOC-MP joining the OCU, or appealing to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to help resolve the situation in Ukrainian Orthodoxy.
It is surprising that, as a rule, no asks the opinion of all bishops on the eve of important meetings in the UOC-MP in this way. As a rule, bishops and other representatives of the clergy were simply instructed on decisions to vote for, a course of action to follow, and statements to make. In the authoritarian UOC-MP (and the ROC in general), this has been practiced for decades.
Now, suddenly, Metropolitan Onufriy (Berezovsky) resorted to such “democracy,” so unusual and unprecedented for the organization.
The second factor that surprised the sources was the removal of Metropolitan Antoniy (Pakanych) from communication with the bishops to clarify their position on the future of the UOC-MP. Metropolitan Onufriy (Berezovsky) is addressing the issue on his own, keeping Antoniy out of the process.
In addition, sources note that Metropolitan Onufriy (Berezovsky) has long been snubbed by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarch Cyril (Gundyaev), who seems to avoid talking to Onufriy and doesn’t return his phone calls.
Probably, such behavior on the part of the Kremlin’s top cleric pushes Metropolitan Onufriy to seek an alternative path for the UOC-MP, rather than remaining in unity with the ROC.
Sources among the clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine express restrained optimism about such actions of its leader, which are not typical for the UOC-MP, on the eve of the announced meeting. Not surprisingly, optimism remains restrained, as the “personal opinion” of most UOC-MP bishops may be dictated by the many years of Kremlin influence. At the same time, the activity of Metropolitan Onufriy and pressure on the UOC-MP from the Ukrainian society are still unable to encourage all the clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine to make radical decisions in favor of the Ukrainian people and church.