Metropolitan Anthony: A real terror launched against the UOC
Met. Anthony noted that only a fluke saved the lives of 80 monks of the Holy Assumption Monastery during the fire and stressed the authorities' response to this.
On April 24, 2020, the UOC Chancellor, Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) of Boryspil and Brovary, commented on the fire in the Holy Assumption Monastery in Odessa and prior attacks on the temples and monasteries of the UOC. On his Facebook page, the hierarch called what was happening a real terror against the Church.
He drew attention to the fact that over the past 2 weeks the fire in Odessa has been the 4th incident of that ilk; however, in this case, arson is not one of the versions but an indisputable fact.
“At the same time, one must fervently thank God for avoiding a great tragedy. After all, if it had not been possible to throw away a burning bottle with incendiary mixture thrown under a gas tank at a safe distance, a car parked near the gas pipe of the fraternal building would have exploded. There 80 monks living there. Just imagine how many human lives could have been destroyed if the Lord had not helped,” Vladyka Anthony emphasized. “In this connection, I’m not afraid to call the incident as a terroristic attack.”
He noted that in all such cases, the lives of many people were threatened. The hierarch of the UOC suggested that this crisis could have been avoided if, during previous acts of attack and vandalism against the churches of the UOC, the authorities had reacted appropriately.
“I’ll just remind you that only in 2018 only in Kiev there were committed 3 arsons of church buildings – the Tithes Monastery, the church in honor of the Mother of God’s icon ‘Joy of All Who Sorrow’ and the church of the Transfiguration of the Lord in Obolon residential area, recalled Vladyka Anthony. “I'm not talking about the corresponding waves of vandalism that surged in different regions of Ukraine (the Odessa Eparchy suffered most of all).”
In his opinion, such actions are an attempt to break the spirit of the UOC and persuade it to trade in its commitment to the canonical organization for the unity with schismatics and political support.
“We can see that for some reason this tendency continues today. The current government either pretends that this is not the case or simply pursues the policy that failed to succeed even from an electoral point of view, having forever buried Poroshenko as a pan-Ukrainian leader and a politician,” the hierarch wrote. “Why is all this being done, why is the authority of Vladimir Zelensky and his party “killed”? I don’t know how to answer this question.”
This can happen because there are a lot of people in the state machine who are still somehow connected with the previous government and who therefore try to discredit the current government, the UOC hierarch suggested. He spoke about rumors that on the eve of Easter, the President’s Office had ordered a “temnik” to some media outlets to actively discredit the UOC and its Primate, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kyiv and all Ukraine (since, in particular, he did not urge the UOC parishioners to pray exclusively at home for the holiday) .
“We really hope that this is nothing more than unverified data. However, if the information mentioned is still true, the question arises – does the President know that certain representatives of his Office use methods that are far from legal and moral standards? noted Met. Anthony. “Really, nothing has changed, and we continue to live according to the patterns of the reality, against which more than 70 percent of Ukrainian citizens voted a year ago.”
"It is important that the Head of State takes personal control of the progress of the relevant investigations and instructs to be informed about the results of cases of acts of vandalism and attacks on the churches of the UOC in the previous 5 years, as well as instructs the relevant authorities to check a number of media outlets for discrimination on the basis of religion and inciting sectarian strife," emphasized Metropolitan Anthony.
On April 15, an old wooden church in honor of St. Paraskeva of Serbia in the Chernivtsi-Bukovyna Diocese caught fire, the main version of the fire being arson.
In the evening of April 21, a fire began on the territory of the Gamaleevsky Convent of the UOC in honor of the holy martyr Kharalampiy in the Shostka District of Sumy Region. On the night of April 24, on the feast day, the Holy Assumption Monastery caught fire in Odessa; the fire lasted about 3 hours.