UOC Synod condemns OCU raiding and rejects accusations of collaborationism

23 November 2022 15:28
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The Holy Synod of the UOC issued a statement. Photo: news.church.ua The Holy Synod of the UOC issued a statement. Photo: news.church.ua

The Holy Synod issued a statement in which it rejected accusations of collaboration, condemned church raiding and called for an end to inter-religious hatred.

On November 23, 2022, the Holy Synod of the UOC issued a statement on the most acute problems of church and public life in Ukraine. The statement was published by the Information and Education Department of the UOC.

The statement reminded that the war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine has been going on for more than 270 days; the UOC immediately condemned this war and consistently stands for the preservation of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. As noted in the document, believers of the UOC "with God's help and the prayers of their fellow believers, courageously defend their Motherland in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations."

The UOC, together with the entire Ukrainian people, rejoices at the victories and the restoration of life in the liberated cities and villages, together with all the people grieves over the deaths of soldiers and civilians.

The statement says that some clergy of the UOC are accused of collaborationism.

“We declare that these artificial accusations are unproven and groundless. Those bishops and priests, who remained in the occupied territory of Ukraine and continue to perform their pastoral service there, are not collaborators. On the contrary, many of them are true heroes of the Ukrainian nation. In the difficult circumstances that developed because of the warfare, they did not leave their flock. Risking their reputation, the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are doing everything possible for our Ukrainian people to survive where war destroys the chances for human life,” highlights the Synod’s statement.

The Synod also expressed concern about the ongoing "illegal practice of re-registration of parishes and seizures of temples of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church."

The UOC noted that “undisguised raiding, often accompanied by abuse and fights, occurs not only with the consent, but even at the initiative of representatives of local authorities,” and some civil servants allow themselves provocative statements directed against the Church. “Such actions split society, and this is a particularly serious crime under martial law,” the Synod said in its statement.

The Holy Synod noted with concern that some monasteries and clergymen of the UOC have been subjected to searches, and some clerics have been charged.

“We insist on the objectivity of the actions of law enforcement officers. The investigation must be impartial and not be accompanied by unsubstantiated accusations,” the UOC recalled and urged “not to kindle an internal war, but to unite everyone in order to survive and win.”

The statement of the Holy Synod emphasizes that “the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, not only in word but also in deed, supports the defenders, gives shelter to internally displaced persons, and helps all those who have been deprived of the most necessary things for life by the war.”

The UOC reminded that almost every day the military personnel – parishioners of the UOC ask for an opportunity to perform the sacraments, in particular Confession and Holy Communion, at their location. They expressed the hope that "in the near future, the biased attitude towards the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be put to an end, our clergy will be included in the quotas for the representation of military chaplains and will be admitted wherever our faithful soldiers are based.”

“We pray that, according to the words of the Apostle Peter, all of us would be “like-minded, sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble, not repaying evil with evil or insult with insult” (1 Pet. 3:8-9), so that the Lord would keep everyone healthy and unharmed, and that peace would reign on our Ukrainian land!” the statement of the Holy Synod of the UOC ends.

As the UOJ wrote, the Holy Synod approved new liturgical texts.

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