UOC Spokesman: Phanar wants to make Church of Greece a party to its offence
Instead of admitting its blunder, the Patriarchate of Constantinople is trying to force the whole Body of the Church to believe it did the right thing.
Recognizing the OCU means changing oneself and one's attitude towards it, yet there must change those who have broken away themselves and left the Church. Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, deputy head of the Department for External Church Relations of the UOC, said this in a program “The Right to Believe”, which was aired on First Cossack on the eve of the Extraordinary Bishops' Council of the Hellenic Orthodox Church regarding the recognition of the OCU.
The clergyman noted that the whole Orthodox world is following the situation in the Greek Orthodox Church, which most recently included the “Ukrainian issue” in the agenda of the extraordinary meeting of the hierarchy. According to him, Constantinople made a mistake everyone is talking about, and "is now doing everything possible to get the whole Body of the Church to believe it did the right thing."
“Phanar wants to prove it did everything right and to make the Hellenic Church as an accomplice to its offence. In simple terms, we have a popular proverb in Ukraine for this case: ‘The woman’s life was easy unitil she made it busy – she bought herself a pig!’ Well, the Greek Church is persistently touted to buy a piglet, although it already has problems within its own Church,” said the archpriest.
At the same time, he emphasized that recognition of the OCU will not give anything, “because to admit means to change your attitude. In other words, the one being recognized remains as it is, there changes only the one who recognizes it, his position. But the Church keeps saying that it is those who have departed from the Church, who have broken away from that must change.”
“Our Beatitude Onuphry often says that one must not change the Church – one must change himself/herself, while the Church must be unchanged. Well, let them recognize the OCU on Saturday – what’s next? Nothing. This is how a patient comes to change a doctor: ‘look, you have to change your attitude and write that I am healthy’. Well, any doctor will tell such a man to take a course of treatment in order to be healthy and to get a relevant medical reference – no problem. The same thing here: do not change the doctor, but change yourself,” the clergyman explained.
Nevertheless, he added, all these tragic and difficult events made it possible to find out about many wonderful hierarchs and priests that we had not known before: “The other day, Metropolitan Simeon, addressing the Holy Synod, said that it is impossible to recognize the OCU because by doing so we will compromise ourselves, and Patriarch Bartholomew is not infallible,” Father Nikolai recalled. “We know about an open letter of clergy, clergy and laity of the Church of Greece to the hierarchy, which was first signed by 179 people, and as of today 2414 signatures have been collected, and they have been transferred to the Synod. Thus, it is clear that there is opposition to the possible recognition of the OCU from within the Church. We are aware of the position of the clergy who would come here and serve with His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, and from here they made an appeal to the hierarchs of the Church of Greece – because they saw what kind of Church it is and how much it suffers.”
“It is pleasant that the Christian conscience is vigilant, that people defend canonicity of the Church. After all, it would seem that Greece is far away, but they worry about us, worry about the purity of faith and uphold the canonical principles of the Church. This is wonderful in this tragic situation,” the clergyman emphasized.
He recalled that most of the Local Orthodox Churches are quite unequivocal in their position regarding the OCU.
“Serbian Church, for example, stated it would never recognize the OCU. The Church of Antioch has the same opinion. Some of the Churches spoke out a long time ago, while some are silent. But believe me – most of the church people support the UOC in the Greek Orthodox Church. They understand what has happened is wrong,” added the head of the UOC DECR.
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. Before the Council, clerics of the Rovno Eparchy invited the Greek hierarchs to get familiar to the real information about the persecution of the UOC in the Rovno region, published in the book by Andrei Vlasov “The Flip Side of Tomos. My meetings with true Christians”.