What our Church responds to Phanar’s "put your mouth down"

Celebrations were held in the Chechelnik Archangel-Michael Convent of the Tulchin Eparchy. Photo: tulchin-eparchia.org.ua

The hierarchy of the UOC believes that the calls from the Phanar to "put down your mouth" do not sound brotherly or Christian.

Not so long ago, Vinnytsia residents made a procession to the Kalynivka cross and took part in the Great Cross Procession held in Kyiv and dedicated to the Day of the Baptism of Rus’. The believers of the Vinnytsa region gathered again for joint prayer in the Chechelnik Archangel-Michael Convent of the Tulchin Eparchy. Today, monastic obedience is carried out here by 36 nuns, headed by Abbess Serafima (Smaglo).

Believers commemorated St. Mary Magdalene Equal to the Apostles and celebrated the first five years of the monastery founded by Schema-Archimandrite Jonah (Storchak). The festive service was led by the ruling bishop of the Tulchin Eparchy, Metropolitan Jonathan (Yeletskikh), Metropolitan Varsonofy (Stoliar) of Vinnytsia and Bar, Metropolitan Panteleimon (Lugovoi) of Uman and Zvenigorod, Archbishop Alexander (Nesterchuk) of Gorodnytsia, Bishop Sergiy (Anitsoi) of Ladyzhin.

The abbess of the Brailiv Holy Trinity Convent, Abbess Anthonia (Stetsenko) was also present at the celebration. The celebrations were attended by the clergy of the eparchies of the Vinnytsia region, including the rectors of the seized churches.

Metropolitan Joanathan (Yeletskikh) with his flock. Photo: tulchin-eparchia.org.ua

We live at the time when the truth is trampled by atheists, non-believers, enemies of Christ, enemies of the Church. When they point at us, the humble servants of God, who go on the cross processions, with their fingers, as once upon a time the Jews and Sadducees nodded at Christ crucified, said in his sermon Metropolitan Jonathan of Tulchin and Bratslav.

We live at the time of slander, persecution for the fact that we recognize as our Primate only His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kyiv and All Ukraine. Unfortunately, among those who raise their hand against our unity, there are those who bear the highest ecclesiastical dignity – Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. By his labours, by the labours of external political forces, an anti-church was created in Ukraine. The graceless community of self-ordained schismatics and the entire army of Christ's enemies supports, elevates and dignifies them and bad-mouths us. At such times, it is worth showing apostolic patience, said Metropolitan Jonathan. – Today we must be together as never before, unite around the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which Bartholomew recognized as illegal. And we must always remember that "blessed are those whom they reproach, for my name's sake".

Priests at the festive service in the Chechelnik Convent. Photo: tulchin-eparchia.org.ua

Archpriest Pavel Petlevany, the rector of the seized temple of the Prophet of God Elijah in the village of Strilchyntsi, Vinnytsia region, told the UOJ correspondent that the newly created pseudo-church structure closed the old St. Elijah Church in their village 3 years ago.

We serve in the courtyard near the temple. In summer, nightingales sing along with the choir, and in winter – a frosty wind. But the parish not only survived but also multiplied. Even the children of parishioners who came from Germany went with us on the Great Cross Procession in Kyiv. We have 16 court sessions and a stack of papers. But we hope for the rule of law. It hurts that the 200-year-old temple is empty.

"Stern friends", as Father Pavel calls the representatives of the OCU, rarely appear here. In the year before last, they served only 5 times, last year – never. And this year three people came to the service, and the visiting "priest" refused to serve for such a society. The village was divided. Believers of the UOC and those who support the OCU even go to different shops.

Father Pavel cannot understand in any way the words of the Phanar hierarch Apostle said to the bishops of the UOC – “put down your mouth”.

Hierarchs in Phanar are smart, wise people with traditions, they can find various words for comment. But I haven’t heard this yet, says the priest.

Metropolitan Varsonofy (Stoliar). Photo: tulchin-eparchia.org.ua

Metropolitan Varsonofy of Vinnytsia and Bar is surprised at the words of the Phanar hierarch:

When I read this, I could not even believe that the hierarch of the Church could say this, it sounds so bold and defiant. Yes, the Church of Constantinople has a great history, but to declare that they "gave grace" and now have the right to put down our mouths is not brotherly, not Christian. It is not even ethical to use such words for a hierarch. Our Ukrainian Orthodox Church will answer these bold words.

We are worried about a division in society, seized churches, and the beating of our believers. I am a witness to that. I was personally attacked by activists of the "church" supported by Constantinople. Bartholomew legalized illegal "hierarchs", resumed Vladyka.

Abbess of the Archangel-Michael Convent Serafima, a participant in the Congress of Monastics in Pochaiv, hopes for the mercy of God and believes that the Lord will arrange everything for the good of the canonical Church.

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