Media: Delegation of OCU denied access to the Church of Holy Sepulcher
The main pass to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is badges that are given only to members of official delegations approved by the Jerusalem Patriarchate.
Despite the intervention of the Embassy of Ukraine in the State of Israel, the delegation of the OCU was not able to obtain permission from Jerusalem to participate in a joint prayer inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, reports the edition "Strana.ua".
“Anyone can come to the temple and receive the Holy Fire – this is allowed to everyone, after all, it is a feast,” the publication cites one of the representatives of the Jerusalem Patriarchate. “But another church of yours (the OCU – Ed.) cannot get inside the shrine, as well as hold a joint prayer there or hold a service in the cathedral of Jerusalem the day before,” he said. “They don't have permission to do that.”
Lists of official delegations were submitted for approval to Jerusalem six months before the Easter events. At the same time, Jerusalem tightened the verification of documents of all visiting clergymen, especially from Ukraine: delegations must provide a special certificate about their denomination and fill in a number of questionnaires.
We recall that the OCU delegation of about 30 people announced that it was going to the Holy Land to deliver the Holy Fire to Ukraine. Representatives of the new church structure can receive the Holy Fire on an equal basis with other believers – exclusively outside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
“This year, in connection with the increased screening, they can check certificates with the clergymen in order to understand what Church they represent,” the publication cites the words of its source in church circles. “Those who got inside the temple are not subject to such a procedure. But so that once again the appearance of the representatives of the OCU who will stand in the crowd doesn’t raise questions, they remove a cross, a panagia; earlier the clergymen of the UOC-KP did so, some even took off cassocks.”
It is noted that the OCU delegation includes only one priest, Father Mikhail, while the main composition of the delegation was formed from MPs. "In addition, for unknown reasons, Father Michael, on arrival in Jerusalem, took off his cross, with which he was depicted in the photo when leaving Kiev," the publication emphasized.
As the UOJ reported, the delegation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the only official delegation from Ukraine accepted at the residence of Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem, will deliver the Holy Fire to Ukraine on April 27. The meeting of the Holy Fire will take place at the Kiev Borispol International Airport at around 6:30 pm. On the same day, in the room for official delegations, the Holy Fire will be given to the clergy to be distributed in the dioceses of Ukraine.
At 23.00, the Primate of the UOC, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine will give out the Holy Fire to thousands of the faithful who will come to the night Paschal service in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.