US media: Ungodly men are ready to add new martyrs from UOC to our calendar

16 March 18:21
Metropolitan Onuphry. Photo: Metropolitan Onuphry. Photo:

The authors of the article underscore that the right of the UOC to peacefully profess Orthodoxy does not depend on its popularity among whatever part of the Ukrainian people or government.

The American Orthodox Reflections edition published an article “8 Lies Told by Enemies of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church”, which criticizes the discriminatory actions of the Ukrainian authorities towards the UOC.

The author of the article notes that as the situation around the UOC intensifies, many lies are being spread to divert attention from the ongoing horrors. He goes on to debunk eight of the most egregious lies in the article.

The authorities and the Ukrainian media deny that the UOC is being persecuted and claim that all this is just “Russian propaganda”. Everything is nice and democratic. Whatever “shifts” occur of people and/or property, from the UOC to the OCU, are voluntary.

“Beatings, closing holy sites, arbitrary arrests, forcibly transferring property, interfering with the ability of the UOC to function, trying to forcibly name the UOC as a ‘foreign’ entity – if those don’t count as persecution, then that word has no meaning,” states the publication.

The author of the article, Nikolai, a member of the Western Rite Vicariate (of the Antioch Orthodox Archdiocese in America), believes that thinking the OCU adherents as good people is lie #2.

“OCU and those who support it have hearts made of stone. They could watch Metropolitan Onuphry, his clergy, and his flock murdered in the streets and cheer or, at the very least, find a way to justify the murders,” he writes.

The author of Orthodox Reflections states that many of these people, including the clergy, constantly talk about democracy and human rights for everyone, from Iranian women to Hungarian dissidents. For everyone, except Ukrainian Christians, who, they seem to believe, are unworthy of any compassion whatsoever.

Lie #3, according to the author, that the UOC is a “Russian” Church. Debunking this lie, he refers to the homily of Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria, who concelebrated with the head of the OCU Epifaniy, and speaks of the church situation in Ukraine as a confrontation between two Churches: the Ukrainian (OCU) against the Russian (Moscow Patriarchate). “The UOC is a Ukrainian church headed by a native-born Ukrainian, Metropolitan Onuphry... The UOC supports the Ukrainian war both materially and through prayer. But the enemies of the UOC, both in and out of the Orthodox Church, refuse to recognize the truth, and instead pretend that faithful Ukrainians are really Russians,” he writes.

The author of the article recalls how, by whom and for what purpose the OCU was created and says that until 2018 (the year the Dumenko structure was formed), all the Orthodox Churches of the world, including Constantinople and Alexandria, recognized Metropolitan Onuphry as a brother-hierarch and his Ukrainian Church as being the fully canonical local Orthodox Church in Ukraine. However, now, as a result of the “collusion”, “the lie is being spread that the UOC is 'Russian' and the OCU is Ukrainian. This damnable lie continues to be repeated ad nauseum by apologists for the Ukraine government, OCU, American policy, and the Patriarch of Constantinople.”

Father Nikolai calls the assertion that the UOC refused to join the new "national" church because of Russian Ethnophyletism as another bizarre lie (#4). He notes that the UOC has repeatedly made clear statements as to why it cannot concelebrate with the OCU, and none of them had to do with allegiance to Moscow.

The author of the article also challenges lie #5 to the effect that the UOC is full of FSB agents and traitors, so it deserves to be shut down. Despite massive “security sweeps”, there is no real evidence of treason within the UOC. “The press routinely publishes libelous stories about the hierarchy of the UOC under such catchy headlines as: ‘Ultimate proof of Metropolitan Onuphry’s political allegiance to Russia.’ And the ultimate proof turns out to be… a theological book from his personal library that was printed in Russia. Other ‘evidence’ seized from churches and monasteries has included service books in Russian, children’s books in Russian, old homilies in Russian, etc..”

“But even if there are guilty individuals, punishing the entire Church for the actions of a few would still be a gross violation of religious freedom. Collective punishment of innocent individuals is never considered appropriate in the modern world. Is that kind of action consistent with a war for ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’?” questions Fr Nikolai.

Debunking lie #6, the author bluntly says that the United States is behind the establishment of the OCU, with no thought given to the desires or needs of actual Ukrainians. In his opinion, the OCU was founded for political and foreign policy (US support) reasons.

Lie #8 that the Ukrainian people support the persecution of the UOC is also questioned in Orthodox Reflections. Statistics is cited here that “before the war, estimates were that 70% of the population of Ukraine belonged to the UOC. As a result of the war, many Ukrainians have fled to other countries. The UOC has responded by opening parishes abroad. Dozens of them. Further, millions of Ukrainian citizens still self-identify as members of the UOC, despite the persecution, or at the very least support the right of their neighbors to do so.”

“Even if the UOC constitutes a religious minority, freedom of religion is guaranteed to all. You cannot strip people of their human rights by a ‘democratic’ vote in a parliament or via Presidential fiat. Some fundamental rights, such as the right to freely worship, cannot ever be overridden through ‘democratic’ processes. Are American tax payers spending hundreds of billions of dollars, and risking possible nuclear war, to back religious persecution in Ukraine that we would never tolerate at home?”

As the UOJ reported, the American Fox News channel featured on the air numerous believers of the UOC, who had gathered on the day of the Synaxis of the Kyiv Caves Reverend Fathers in the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra. Journalist Tucker Carlson criticized the actions of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in relation to the UOC and was indignant that Christian leaders in Ukraine and worldwide are silent about the persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

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