03 January 2019
The process of Ukraine’s own church becoming independent from Moscow is irreversible – the fact Russia is just unable to grasp.
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine is in the final stretch of receiving from Constantinople a long-sought tomos of autocephaly, leaving the ROC and its satellites furious with these developments.
The Russian Orthodox Church and its Ukrainian subsidiary formerly known as the Moscow Patriarchate have been insistently claiming that Ukrainian authorities are forcing their clerics and laity to switch to the new church. Moreover, they voice sinister warnings that physical violence and an actual war could flare up in the process of creating and forming the newly established Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Information Resistance OSINT group reports.
It should be noted that such statements have nothing to do with reality, since there are numerous facts indicating the opposite, i.e. MP exerting pressure on its priests and parishioners to prevent their transition into the newly established OCU. Besides, the rhetoric of top Russian officials regarding the tomos for Ukraine shows their extremely aggressiveness and belligerence. Speaker of the Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, went as far as branding the creation of a unified local church in Ukraine a “crime,” repeating the thesis that this “could lead to war.” Calling white what’s black and vice versa is a long-time favorite practice of Russian leaders, which not only borders with frank cynicism and hypocrisy but also goes in conflict with common sense.
In this regard, it’s important to recall that the process of transition of parishes to the OCU remains voluntary and that it will be held in accordance with long-established church canons and norms. Every day, more and more parishes turn under the jurisdiction of the newly established Orthodox Church of Ukraine, and this process is already irreversible. Russian leaders, and now the ROC, too, have been stepping on the same rakes of failing to realize such irreversibility, as well as the reasons that led to this. Moreover, they keep trying to somehow hinder the process.
Patriarch Kirill has been complaining to various international institutions, as well as heads of churches and leaders of individual states, sending letters and urging them to boycott and prevent the handing of the tomos to Ukraine, which only confirms the idea.
Just a few days before the tomos will be granted to Ukraine, Patriarch Kirill wrote to Bartholomew, once again urging him to reverse his intentions on Ukraine, and also threatened His Holiness he would lose primacy in the Orthodox world. This is nothing but the ROC exceeding its authority, disrespecting the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and being unwilling to stop the escalation of tensions in Ukrainian and global Orthodoxy.
As regards setting up provocations and sparking violence, Russia and its security agencies have developed a whole mechanism, including the methods of their promotion in media. Therefore, no one will have any doubts about the artificial nature of possible provocations and clashes, as well as Russia directly profiting from such incidents.
The current complicated state of the “divided” Ukrainian Orthodoxy is a result of the ROC ignoring the appeal of the UOC Bishops’ Council of 1991 about autocephaly.
Had the autocephaly been proclaimed for the Ukrainian Church immediately after the country regained independence in 1991, the “split” that began in 1989 could have been avoided.
The ROC has accused Constantinople of the “Heresy of Papism”, while the concept of “Third Rome” remains very popular with the Moscow Patriarchate, according to which the ROC itself must lead the Diptych, which is a flagrant violation of ecclesiastical rules of the Ecumenical and Local Councils.
“The granting of tomos to Ukraine and the formation of its own autocephalous church is a matter of time, being the logical and natural course of things. Also, it is the triumph of historical justice. But apparently, Russia just doesn’t learn anything from history,” the experts conclude.