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Metropolitan Onufriy tells in Moscow how difficult it is to live in Ukraine
4 February 2016, 12:43 | UOC (MP) | 2 | | Code for Blog | |
On February 2, the Bishops' Council of the ROC was held in Moscow. The second speaker after Patriarch Kirill was the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) Metropolitan Onufriy, Religion in Ukraine reports, citing Ratriarchia.ru.
Developing the theme of the persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, raised by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in the first report, Metropolitan Onufriy confirmed: “During the past two years the Lord deigned us, the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, a great honor, participate in suffering for the loyalty to his holy laws.”
At the same time, he said: “Our Ukrainian Orthodox Church together with all the people of Ukraine shares today the hardships and sorrows that fell to our lot. We diligently pray that God sent to our land lasting peace and saved us all from temptations.”
Assessing the ministry of the previous head of the UOC as “a true shepherd of Christ and a true patriot,” the speaker noted “a marked quantitative growth of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church” in the period since the death of Metropolitan Volodymyr (Slobodan).
Thus, “the total number of parishes until the beginning of 2016 was 11,949. 11,976 priests perform their ministry there, including 11,037 priests and 939 deacons. In Ukraine there are 247 monasteries (including 129 men’s and 118 women’s), where 1,603 monks and 2,515 nuns bear obedience. The number of monks in the holy orders is 888, and 303 deacons.”
His Beatitude Onufriy called “an important challenge” for the UOC a problem of pastoral care of the Ukrainian diaspora and members of diplomatic missions of Ukraine abroad. Metropolitan Onufriy called to "pay special attention to this problem,” so that Ukrainian migrants did not go to the UGCC and UOC KP, given the fact that the UOC “repeatedly expressed the initiative to develop a more effective mechanism for pastoral care of the Ukrainian diaspora.”
Metropolitan Onufriy presented details of peacemaking and charitable activities of the UOC from the beginning of the protests during Euromaidan up to the present, complaining that, despite these facts, the media “regularly publish reports denigrating the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”
The head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church also noted the repeated appeals to “all the faithful of our Church,” to Patriarch Kirill and Russian President Vladimir Putin not to allow bloodshed in Ukraine and raise their voice for the preservation of territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state.
As follows from the report of the head of the UOC, he got a half-hearted response from Patriarch Kirill and no response from Vladimir Putin.
Today, as a result of fighting on the territory of the dioceses in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, 9 churches were destroyed, 77 churches have received various kinds of damage, three clergymen were killed.
Metropolitan Onuphrius said that “in a situation of continued military confrontation in eastern Ukraine, we emphasize that we unfailingly stand on the side of peace and support all peace initiatives of the Ukrainian authorities.”
He also listed a number of positive trends in the development of church-state relations in Ukraine under the new government. However, he referred to the parliamentary bill on labor law, which provides for the notions of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as presenting a serious concern.
Metropolitan Onufriy also called “challenging” the relations with local authorities, as well as with non-canonical denominations in different regions of Ukraine. Thus, “in the 2014-2015, 31 seizures of the temples of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church were registered, 8 more religious communities have changed voluntarily their jurisdiction and passed to the so-called “Kiev Patriarchate.” In 12 towns today, the threat of power seizure of churches remains. The situation remains especially tense in Volyn, Lviv, Rivne, Ternopil and Chernivtsi dioceses.
In such a situation “dialogue with those who remain today in the split is hardly possible,” the head of the UOC (MP) said.
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