Thursday, December 7, 2023

    “How good and how nice it is for brothers to live together in unity!” OCU priest says on dialogue with UOC MP

    Dialogue between the UOC MP and the OCU

    “How good and how good it is for brothers to live together in unity!” (Ps 132:1).

    These words of the holy king and prophet David came to my mind when I saw the news that last Wednesday, July 5, the first informal meeting was held of the priests of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the Metropolitan Chambers of Sophia of Kyiv. This extraordinary meeting will surely go down in the history of Ukrainian Orthodoxy.

    Following the event, the participating fathers adopted the “Declaration of Understanding,” in which they recognized the importance of constructive dialogue between branches of Orthodoxy in Ukraine to establish mutual understanding and improve relations between church communities and believers. Not the least important role in their achievement is given to a grassroot awareness campaign, the absence of which, unfortunately, leads to inter-church and inter-denominational conflicts.

    Of course, not everyone is aware of the need to meet, not everyone is ready to take responsibility for the future of the Church and their local church communities, in particular, to build them based on biblical wisdom, evangelical openness, and collegiality; abandon the language of enmity and force. After all, it is much easier to give in to the temptation to replace real spiritual life with “standing in the truth,” to consider yourself a confessor and almost a bloodless martyr, just on the basis of the fact that you close the doors of your temple to those who think differently.

    However, as the participants of the Meeting note, “none of the challenges is an obstacle that cannot be overcome through negotiation in the spirit of Christian love: “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13)”. None! Therefore, those who have such will are able to seek the common good, while those who don’t tend to seek reasons not to.

    Finally, one can only imagine with what joy and inspiration the hearts of our defenders will respond to the news of how our Orthodox compatriots, who have remained in different jurisdictions for years, finally began to call each other brothers and embarked on the path of unity.

    OCU Priest Mykolay Varyvoda