Metropolitan Varsonofiy comments on regional council’s decision to ban UOC

24 November 2022 14:40
Metropolitan Varsonofiy of Vinnytsia and Bar. Photo: the Vinnytsia Eparchy’s press service Metropolitan Varsonofiy of Vinnytsia and Bar. Photo: the Vinnytsia Eparchy’s press service

The ruling bishop of the Vinnytsia Eparchy addressed the deputies with an appeal not to incite religious confrontation in society.

Metropolitan Varsonofiy of Vinnytsia and Bar has appealed to deputies of the Vinnytsia Regional Council regarding their proposal to ban the UOC in Ukraine. The text of the appeal was published on the official website of the Vinnytsia Eparchy.

The metropolitan noted that the UOC is the largest religious organization in the Vinnytsia region.

"The clergy and believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are citizens of Ukraine, most of them were born on this land and all of them love their Homeland. The faithful of the UOC actively help AFU soldiers and also provide shelter and assistance to all those affected by the Russian aggression. Parishioners of the UOC in the Vinnytsia region serve in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, defending our country from the enemy. A large number of UOC believers work in various spheres to help their country survive the war. These people pay taxes, support the economy of Ukraine and the Vinnytsia region in particular, are actively engaged in social service and, most importantly, pray for our country, for the long-suffering Ukrainian people and for the granting of peace to Ukraine. Many UOC believers consciously stay in Ukraine during the war, because they love their native land and see their future and the future of their children exclusively here. Our priests are patriots of Ukraine, who care about their people and the future of their state. The new churches built by them, established Sunday schools, educational and social projects – all this will remain after us in the Ukrainian land," said Bishop Varsonofiy.

The UOC hierarch noted that on November 2, 2022, a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Vinnytsia Regional Council on Education, Religion, Culture, Youth and Sport, chaired by Natalya Zamkova, was held with the participation of the Deputy Chairman of the Regional Council Ihor Ivasiuk. As a result of the meeting, the deputies supported an appeal to the Verkhovna Rada with a proposal to ban the UOC in Ukraine.

"Most members of the commission are likely to deliberately slander the UOC faithful with the following statements: ‘The UOC-MP ideologically justifies and supports the war, as well as justifies the war crimes that Russia is committing on the territory of Ukraine." Probably the whole world has already seen that the Primate of the UOC-MP, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, condemned Russia's aggression and the actions of Russian President Putin back on the first day of the war. Also I, as well as all the heads of UOC eparchies, together with the clergy, condemned Russia's aggression against Ukraine. There was no ‘ideological justification’. If some believers or ministers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have an anti-Ukrainian position or violate the laws of Ukraine – they are personally responsible for their own actions or violations. The official position of the Church is expressed in the decisions of the Holy Synod and the Council of the UOC. It also applies to individual eparchies. All the bishops put their signatures under the decisions of the Council of the UOC of May 27, 2022, which again condemned the aggression of Russia, and also adopted the new Statute on the governance of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. It is our Ukrainian Orthodox Church that was and is the Church of the Ukrainian people and has more than a thousand years of historyб" said the Metropolitan of Vinnytsia and Bar.

His Eminence reminded politicians that the Lord sees the thoughts and intentions of each person, and everyone will answer to God for their actions and their consequences.

"Dear deputies, I hope for your wisdom; do not incite religious confrontation in the Vinnytsia region. In times of war, the entire nation must unite for the sake of common victory! Do not play along with the enemy at this extraordinarily difficult time for Ukraine. I ask you not to interfere in the affairs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and to unite your efforts in helping our defenders and the Ukrainians who have suffered in the war," concluded Metropolitan Varsonofiy in his appeal.

As earlier reported, on 2 November 2022, the Vinnytsia regional authorities asked the Rada to ban the UOC.

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