Wednesday, May 31, 2023

    Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia appeals to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, backing UOC (MP)

    Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia wrote a letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch, including in connection with the situation f the UOC (MP) in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

    The text of the letter was published on the official website of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

    Expressing his deep pain in connection with the Russo-Ukrainian war, the Georgian patriarch noted that he is concerned about the circumstances in which the UOC (MP) has found itself now.

    Ilia II explained his appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch by the fact that “the government of Ukraine, which governs the country during the war, has its own position on this and does not take into account deep religious considerations.”

    Also, Patriarch John of Antioch expressed his support and condolences to Metropolitan Onufriy and the entire UOC (MP).

    It should be recalled that recently, the Primate of the OCU, Metropolitan Epifaniy, made a statement regarding the status of the Lavra and the latest developments around it. Among other things, he assured that the monastery will not be closed and that the monastic life will not be interrupted.

    Referring to the statements of Moscow Patriarch Kirill (Gundyaev) and the drawing of parallel lines between the current decisions and the persecution of Church by communist authorities, he spoke of “groundless deception.”

    “This sounds especially cynical coming from a hierarch who was closely associated with the Communist Party and even tried to run for elected office from that party,” he said.

    The Metropolitan of Kyiv also referred to the Ukrainian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, stressing that both the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine and the Ukrainian state are trying to persuade Metropolitan Onufriy to sever UOC (MP)’s subordination to the Russian center.

    He also blames Metropolitan Onufriy himself, stressing that he “attempted to mislead the state by declaring separation from the Moscow Patriarchate, but in fact remains subordinate to it.”

    “Neither Metropolitan Onufriy nor the Synod headed by him reacted in any way to the numerous facts of cooperation of the hierarchs and their clergy with Russian invaders or the annexation by Kirill (Gundyaev) of religious sites located in the temporarily occupied territories. Instead, in the spirit of Russian propaganda, they focused on accusations targerting Ukraine.”

    Regarding the Lavra monastery itself, Metropolitan Epifaniy emphasized that the society is aware that the Lavra under the leadership of the current abbot of the monastery has become a center for the spread of the “Russian world” ideology, an ideology that is the basis and justification for Russia’s war against Ukraine.

    He recalls that for this the abbot was awarded by Russian President Putin.

    Addressing the monks staying in the monastery, he invites them to contribute to liberation from the Moscow yoke.

    “We are of the same Orthodox faith and belong to the same Church of Christ. Moscow’s church power in Ukraine is non-canonical and everyone can see how the Kremlin uses it against the Ukrainian people. The Lavra must not be a tool of fight against Ukraine, but a place of prayer, a pious monastic life in the spirit of the fathers and ascetics of the past, a place that will spiritually inspire our fellow citizens in these difficult times.”