Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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    UOC (MP) Synod supports bishops accused of aiding enemy, express discontent with government’s actions

    On September 25, the UOC (MP) Synod in Feofania declared that their rights were being violated, therefore they called on the faithful and the clergy to defend themselves by “legal methods.”

    “In connection with the fact that the brazen and systematic violation of rights has long been going on […] it was decided that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (in unity with the MP, – ed.) will employ all possible legal methods for its protection, both on the national, as well as at the international level,” says the statement of the Synod of the UOC (MP).

    Also, the Synod published an appeal to the clergy and all the faithful, stressing that “violence and lawlessness must be avoided when protecting your rights.”

    The appeal states that the UOC (MP) “does not divide its flock depending on political or social preferences.”

    In addition, the UOC (MP) is dissatisfied with the outflow of parishioners and the transition of religious communities to the OCU. There they labeled such processes as “raiding”. According to UOC (MP) churchmen, all those involved in the unification of parishes with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is independent from Moscow, “are open spiritual enemies of the Ukrainian state, whose actions only deepen the destructive consequences of Russian aggression.”

    The Synod of the UOC (MP) is “shocked” by the actions of the Ukrainian authorities and believes that the Saints of Kyiv-Pechersk will be protected from “offenders” in the person of the Ministry of Culture.

    Instead of condemning the bishops aiding and abetting the invaders, the UOC (MP) at the highest level defends them and thanks everyone who supports the “persecuted” clerics. In particular, they said that “special prayer support is needed today by bishops who are subject to criminal persecution and are forcibly restricted in communicating with their flock.”

    Accusations of collaborationism and anti-Ukrainian activities are also not recognized in the UOC (MP) because they “do not have convincing confirmation in case files forwarded to court.”

    It is noteworthy that the appeal does not mention the Russian Federation and its forces who killed tens of thousands of civilians and captured Ukrainian territories. Instead, all criticism and condemnation is aimed at the actions of the Ukrainian authorities and those who are “persecuting” the UOC (MP), or bishops under investigation.

    In the statement by the UOC (MP), emphasis is placed on “legitimate means of protection” both at the national and international level. This may raise suspicions about the use of political and legal pressure on the process of transitions to the OCU.

    In general, the statement of the UOC (MP) is drawn from a POV of conflict, not understanding, which does not contribute to improving the situation. There are no specific proposals on possible actions the UOC (MP) would be ready to take to solve the problem peacefully, through dialogue and compromise.

    Thus, the text appears one-sided and not entirely objective. It would be better to pay more attention to the search for constructive solutions, and not only to protecting the interests of the UOC (MP) and bishops under investigation. One gets the impression that the UOC (MP) does not benefit from dialogue with the OCU. They are also not intending to do anything to definitively and clearly sever ties with Moscow. On the contrary, the leadership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) felt that they would no longer be “banned” and that is why they can breathe out and more boldly talk about “raiding” and “persecution”, and leave promises about a break with the Russian Orthodox Church for the time when things become excruciatingly difficult for them.

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