Greek hierarchs given books on persecuted believers of UOC before Council
On the eve of the extraordinary Council of the Greek Church on recognition of the OCU, the UOC clergy handed out to hierarchs books “The Flip Side of Tomos”.
From October 9 to October 11, 2019, a scheduled meeting of the Bishops' Council of the Greek Orthodox Church takes place in Athens, during which representatives of the Rovno Eparchy of the UOC invited the Greek bishops to get familiar to the real information about the persecution of the UOC in Rovno region, highlighted in the book by Andrei Vlasov “The Flip Side of Tomos. My meetings with true Christians". Archpriest Viktor Zemlianoy, the head of the Department for Interfaith Conflict Regulation at the Rovno Eparchy of the UOC, said this in a commentary to the UOJ from Greece.
“We offered brochures to all the bishops and clergy who participate in the Council,” said Father Viktor. “There were a lot of clergy, bishops. In general, they took it with very great interest, read it, watched it, approached us and asked questions. The hierarchs also sent their assistants to take books additionally and inquired about the situations described there.”
In particular, Archpriest Viktor noted, "Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus in an interview with us expressed support for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Her Primate His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine."
At the same time, according to the priest, there was a bishop who, on the contrary, began rather aggressively to argue that “this is all untrue, no one beats anyone there”.
“We invited him to our place, showed him a video – how people are beaten, how temples are seized. He immediately sank a bit afer watching the film,” said the clergyman.
In general, over two days, on October 10 and 11, the clergy of the UOC distributed about 100 books. At the same time, the crew of the Ukrainian TV channel 1 + 1 was present.
“'1+1' journalists took a comment from our cleric, Archpriest Ilya Maksimchuk, only after a girl from our delegation herself invited them to do this. They didn’t shoot the Greek hierarchs coming up to us, taking brochures and showing interest, but tried instead to capture moments when someone was reluctant to take it. This suggests that their plot will definitely be provocative and they will not give an overall and correct picture,” said Father Victor.
Recall that the book written by journalist, publicist and one of the leading authors of the UOJ Andrei Vlasov “The Flip Side of Tomos. My meetings with true Christians” describes meetings with parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Rovno Region, who despite severe pressure from the authorities and activists managed to remain faithful to the Church. It narrates how the parishioners of the UOC live in villages where supporters of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” alongside the authorities have taken away their temples; why the once united and friendly villages got filled with hatred and evil after the Tomos was granted, when a brother does not talk with his brother and a neighbor with his neighbor, and – most importantly – why in these difficult conditions, believers try to preserve their inner peace and respond with good to evil.
As reported by the UOJ, an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church will be held in Athens on October 12, at which they are going to make a decision on the recognition of the OCU.