Social media: OCU "hierarch" complains AFU doesn't pay bonuses to chaplains

"Metropolitan" of Epiphany Dumenko’s church structure Ioann Yaremenko. Photo: zn.ua

The "bishop" of the religious organization of Epiphany Dumenko wrote a letter to the Commander-in-Chief of the AFU with complaints about the dismissal of chaplains.

The Chairman of the Synodal Department for Military Clergy of the OCU (SDMC) “Metropolitan” Ioann Yaremenko complained to the AFU Commander-in-Chief, Colonel General Ruslan Khomchak, that ignoring the requests and proposals of the Department by the AFU Command led to the dismissal of chaplains, reports the “Churcher.info” Telegram channel.

Yaremenko said that vacancies in the AFU are filled not the clergymen recommended by the SDMC, and those who the Department recommends removing from their posts stay in office.

The “hierarch” of the OCU also informed Khomchak that his chaplains complain about non-payment of bonuses and “military” rewards, as well as about writing off funds for food. Some of the “clergymen” in the zone of the Joint Forces Operation (OOS) are still not provided with uniforms, he added.

Because of the above, some “clergymen” are even transferred as contract soldiers to military units for the sake of proper social and financial support, reports “Churcher.info”.

In order to avoid all these problems, the OCU proposed to create a separate unified body of the Department for Spiritual and Religious Support in the Armed Forces, and Churcher.info employees suggested that the SDMC criticizes the leadership of the army in order to “increase the status of the chaplain service and make it more independent”.

The AFU and the OCU did not reach consensus on the issue of forming the Doctrine of pastoral work in joint operations, which should be developed by September 30, 2020. The main stumbling block, according to “Churcher.info”, was the attempt of the OCU "hierarch" to promote the definition "spiritual and religious content (the right to freedom of religion)" as one of the chaplains' activities. In the Armed Forces of Ukraine, they offer the wording “meeting spiritual and religious needs” of the military.

“Churcher.info” assumes that the chaplains of the OCU could turn into a "snitch service a la ‘special department’" if the AFU Command agrees with the proposals of the "hierarch" of the church structure headed by Epiphany Dumenko.

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