UOC Spokesman: Great Cross Procession enables to declare allegiance to UOC
People actually became confessors of faith, so this year the Great Cross Procession will be no less than in the past, Archpriest Nikolai predicted.
From year to year, the Great Religious Procession is growing in size because persecution compels the UOC believers to show solidarity with their Church, said Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, deputy head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to First Cossack Internet channel.
“External events, pressure on the Church and overt persecution are pushing people to show their solidarity with the Church and declare that we belong to this Church. This can be done not only on Facebook but at one of the few public opportunities – at the Cross Procession,” the spokesman explained.
According to him, this year the number of participants in the Great Religious Procession will be no less than last year. He said that even representatives of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia and the Serbian Orthodox Church are planning to come.
“Given what our Church experienced during the last year, I predict there will be no less participants than it was last year. Because people have chosen to stand for their Church, in fact, they have become confessors of the faith,” the priest emphasized.
However, the “procession” of the OCU activists is unlikely to be numerous, says Archpriest Nikolai.
“It is obvious there will be no such pressure, defamation, administrative resource – they will not drive people to the venue. I recall that last year “believers” in shorts and T-shirts arrived at the procession of the Kiev Patriarchate. Now there will be much less people in shorts and T-shirts,” he said.
In the situation at hand, Patriarch Bartholomew promised to transfer the relics of the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called to Kiev with the delegation of Phanar to attract more people to participate in the event of a new religious organization,” suggested the deputy head of the UOC DECR.
“As far as we can see, supporters of the OCU are not attracted by relics: they prefer political rhetoric, flags and songs. They even call the procession "Ukrainian". Then there must be “Greek,” “Russian,” “Romanian,” and others. But in Christ there is neither a Hellene nor a Jew ...” he noted.
Archpriest Nikolai mentioned that the Patriarchate of Constantinople had actually backslid into schism.
“Because the 10th and 45th Apostolic rule states that whoever praying with the schismatics or the heretic will be excommunicated. That is a fact,” explained the UOC spokesman.
Phanar’s personal ambitions do not allow the Church to unite, he added.
“We would like to have a single cross procession one day, to have the renegades return so that there is one Church. Yet, personal ambitions, alien geopolitical ambitions, those of the Constantinople Patriarchate and other things prevent this to happen so far,” concluded Archpriest Nikolai.
Earlier, the DECR deputy head drew the attention of the flock that the head of the Church of Constantinople is actually only a patriarch of the non-existent empire.