Father Vitaliy Eismont About Uoc (Mp): I Felt Myself Deceived By My Own Church

9 May 2014, 12:27 | Interview | 4 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

Eismont.jpg                          Interviewed by Tetyana MUKHOMOROVA

Within the last few days, the joint service of the famous Father Vitaliy Ejsmont with  representatives of the Kyiv Patriarchate.  After this there were multiple stories spread and unverified news about the priest switching to UOC KP, yet nothing was officially said.  RISU went to talk with Father Vitaliy about the situation as well as  about whether the desire to unite the churches is realistic on the background of war in the country.

On May 6th, you celebrated the Liturgy together with representatives of the Kyiv Patriarchate at Vydubytskyi  Monastery.  After that there were rumors spread that you had gone over to UOC KP and also there were quite a few accusations made that you became a “schismatic”. What  really happened and in what jurisdiction are you serving?

I have and continue to be a cleric of the UOC (Moscow Patriarchate).  I will try to explain that which  finally  impelled  me to  do these acts,  which on the day before morally  pressed me down, choked me -- after which I could no longer remain on the old principles in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. It was not simple to be here, I mean in the Ovrutsk Eparchy of UOC.  The situations often and thickly became ridiculous.  But these are realities to which I had to reconcile myself.  I have a family of six children and the parish is very small and is located in a dying village. 

More than once, I requested the bishop to transfer me to another parish, so that at least I could feed my family.  However, the answer that I got was that I simply have “an anxious attitude and that I should read all 12 volumes of John the Chrysostom, then everything will pass and God will help.”  I started to read, got into debt, but nothing changed – I came again and explained that I do not have enough to feed my children.  They said: “little – then read also Feofon Zatvornyk.”  When this also did not help, then the answer was such that at first I thought it was a joke.    I was told that “you have Baptists there, so work, convert them to the saving Orthodox faith – then the parish will grow and money will appear.”  That is, only talking about some characteristics of eparchial life, with which I lived and got used to. 

On December 13, 2013 the statement of UOC priests was made public which not only supported the events  but also stated that one has to remain a Christian to the end  and to remember that those “hired thugs”  and Berkut are also our fellow men.  And instead of supporting, they grasped their words, took them out of context and said that the priests went to the side of a particular political power, writing, that there are people “on the other side of the barricades.”  This was even published on our key site, “Orthodoxy in Ukraine” that some priests are politicized, that they sow hatred among the people instead of preaching love.  This was painful because this was written by those whom I considered as my friends. Also, in fact, they actually blocked  the breathing of Father Oleksandr Avdiuhin and Svitlana Okhrymenko, who wrote on Facebook and LiveJournal about the happiness of seeing soviet flags and the Russian three colors,  about the support of pro-Russian activists on blog posts and so on.  And here I read a commentary with similar words – and there it is only about how “it is wonderful, it is beautiful”.  Thus they called our appeal to the Maidan as political; it is done in this way, because “it’s impossible to do otherwise in the given environment.”

And I waited for when will my Church make a statement, which will state not only that one should “suffer, pray for peace.”  That is good, those are necessary words and things, but one has to admit that Crimea was occupied by the Russian side, that there is an attempt to take over the East and the South of the country, that these facts do exist.  However, in official circles of RPC, these facts were met with silence, and in UOC itself one did not even hear about Putin’s aggression. Here, for example, Dmytro Marchenko wrote on the mentioned site: “What happened, happened.  Crimea is gone.  One can talk whatever one wants to, but this did happen.”  That is all!  There is no other statement to be found on this site – and this is the media face of the Church!

 I felt deceived by my Church, which I served for over 22 years.  It’s an awful feeling.  Then I found out about the Liturgy with Patriarch Filaret, all the more, since there was talk about the fact that the churches have matured to the point of unifying – and I took part in the Liturgy.  I understood very well what could be the repercussions of this step, and therefore was ready that if in this UOC (MP) I am deemed to be unneeded, then I can join the KP.  However, now in the eparchy it is calm, no one is blaming me.  On May 9th, there is a meeting planned between the manager of the eparchy, Metropolitan Vissarion and myself,  about which I was informed in calm terms.  If everything goes well, I will stay.  And if there will be a possibility of joining the services of the Kyiv Patriarchate from time to time, I will do so.

What is now the situation in UOC (MP)?  Are the priests ready for unifying into one sui juris  Church?  Are there those who would want to join another confession because they do not agree with the politics of their own Church?  How many are there?

There is a desire for unity, there is a wish; many patriotic priests believe that in one country, two Churches should not autonomously co-exist.  Until now, they cannot take the step, which I made.  However, thoughts about this have been ripening over a long period.  When I talked with them, I received support and gratitude for my intentions.  I will serve God, His Church and Ukraine, independent from which jurisdiction.  Something has to be done with the silent reaction of UOC – I can no longer just be, I cannot act against my conscience which does not permit me to stand aside of this situation.

And what if one talks about the upper echelons of UOC – are they ready to lead the Church towards unification?  How do you think and feel about this?

I cannot talk about the whole Church in general, but I will say what I personally think.   I love very much and respect Bishop Antoniy (Pakanych), who is the manager of Church matters.  He genuinely loves Ukraine and worries about its future.  However, I would expect more action from him and from the locum tenens metropolitan Onufriy, I expected more concrete action, I wanted to hear that in the country there really exist separatists, collaborators, as well as priests who support different sides of the conflict…    One has to pose the question:  “What do we do next?”  Essentially, no one is posing that question as a principle…   One has the impression that  they rely only on prayer  and the preaching of reconciliation, and that further on , however God wills …However, one also has to contribute one’s own efforts, as it is said in the Epistle of  Paul, that God has entrusted us to be  co-participants of his work not only in prayer.  The Kingdom of God is conquered through strength, through concrete acts.   Most importantly, there must be a desire for it, although while something supposedly is going on, these movements and issues remain without harvest.  There is evidence of the gathered harvest, openly bitter, especially in our Church media. There is an obvious intention of “not there”.   And if in our Church there are unhealthy symptoms, if one ignores them, then the disease will not be cured and the organism will die.  It is similar to the human organism – a disease has to be diagnosed and treated, and the Church is the Body of Christ.  And it is a pity that this does not happen.

 What concerns the situation in the East and the South of the country?  How could priests influence the situation to regulate it and bring it closer to peace?  What exactly could they do besides praying?

For me both the East and the South of Ukraine are very dear regions – I was born in Donbas, in the city of Krasnodon, where I lived until the first grade.  Then I went to school in Crimea, about which I think now and find it very symbolic.  What can one do – unquestionably one can influence the situation, one can turn to the people not only with prayer and a sermon on suffering.  Priests should remind their faithful to remember the tenth commandment of God : “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s house,” and remember that by joining the neighboring country, it automatically makes into foreigners  the patriotically oriented  co-inhabitants of a given region.  And the second, no less important: are the political prophesies of the Reverend Lavrentiy Chernihivskyi (which were really not pronounced by the saint as has been certainly established) and the archimandrite Zosym Sokura (the same who blessed Yanukovych for the presidency) – are totally political views that have no  relation to Christianity.  If this false foundation is liquidated, then the awareness of the laity can change substantially.

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  • maksimka407 | 14 May 2014, 21:35
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    Епископ у нас нормальный! Я живу в одном городе с о.Виталием и хочу сказать, народ, что это только его мнение и его сторона медали. Не судите и не делайте выводов, пожалуйста,если не знаете человека. А вы не знаете ни о.Виталия, ни владыку Виссариона, ни всех их отношений. И почему владыка так поступал?! Может на то были причины, никто не задумывался?! Да и о. Виталий совершенно не туда полез. У нас в стране Церковь отделена от власти и поэтому она (Церковь) только и может говорить «терпите, молитесь о мире» и не более. Потому как у каждого священника свое политическое мнение, но это никак не может и не должно быть мнением Церкви. А о.Виталий в данном случае, просто-напросто нарушает каноны Православной Церкви и еще более разжигает вражду между МП и КП

    • firemark | 21 May 2014, 14:48
      comment comment

      А что важнее "каноны Православной Церкви" или Святой Дух в 2000-летнем опыте Церкви Христовой, запечатленной в св.Предании (ну и св.Писании разумеется)? И еще, о "разжигании вражды между МП и КП" - это миф; уже почти 10 лет сущестует мирянское движение за единством церквей под покровом Богоматери. Тула входят все непротестанские церкви Украины и никакого противостояния нет...... Да, это интервью оставлляет двоякую реакцию, но... с другой стороны - стороны его оппонентов, которые призывают батюшку к смирению, не должно быть даже намеков на политправославие и русмир. Ибо тогда священник прав по мирскому, а по священническому мы все правы, кто взывает до ПДМ про покров над Украиной от сил зла, от неправды. А Правда одна!, а если правд много, то мы как Понтий Пилат - "что есть правда?"

  • Давид | 11 May 2014, 14:20
    comment comment

    На превеликий жаль, таку пораду можна почути не лище від цього єпископа, і не лише від православного єпископа МП. Знаю конкретні випадки, коли неправославні, "наші рідненькі", єпископи подібним чином "допомагали" своїм духовним дітям, напр., говорили: "Це ваша справа", "Допоможу, але на домовину" (!!?), "Йдіть жебракувати, може хтось щось дасть", і подібні їм відповіді. Не один священик залишався безпорадним і позбавленим допомоги після таких "порад" і "допомоги" своїх духовних батьків (важко так їх називати...). Ще інший грубо кричав на священика, який йому просто зателефонував з приводу важливого питання. Але ж у них є титули (два з них - митрополити, один - єпископ)... Та нікому з нас не допоможуть жодні титули, коли всі станемо перед Христом. Не вкладається мені в голові, як так можуть чинити єпископи, наслідники апостолів...

  • vasyltk | 9 May 2014, 14:16
    comment comment

    Порада просто супер, просто святий єпископ, виявляється не безгрошів’я, а неспокійний дух, а щоби вигнати той «… неспокійний дух, … треба читати всі 12 томів Іоана Златоуста, тоді все пройде і Бог допоможе», а коли і цього «мало, читай ще Феофана Затворника».

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Last comments

  • Стефан | 2 June 2020, 15:54

    Последние события показали глубокий кризис РПЦ МП, где только отдельные редкие священнослужители твёрдо исповедуют Православную Веру, как схиигумен отец Сергий Романов, которого сейчас травят

  • Рокитне | 2 June 2020, 12:34

    Це добре було б.

  • Рокитне | 2 June 2020, 12:31

    Конфлікти закінчуться між нашою ПЦУ та УПЦ МП, коли ми почнемо будувати свої храми, а не заселятися в ті, які МП збудовані. Тут все легко...

  • Михаил | 2 June 2020, 08:47

    Очередная статья нижайшего интеллектуального уровня, с фантазиями и ночными кошмарами автора. Андрея Юраша правильно не назначили на должность потому что по умственному развитию он близок к автору

  • Ігор Затятий | 2 June 2020, 02:08

    Бог взявся за представників безтомосної секти. І чого б це?

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