Archbishop Nikolai: Church and politics treat quarantine differently

Archbishop Nikolai (Kapustin) of Kremenchug and Lubny. Photo:

The UOC hierarch commented on the fact when the Church, due to quarantine rules, abolishes All-Ukrainian Cross Procession, while politicians hold marches of thousands.

Believers of the UOC find it hard to accept the news on the cancellation of the annual All-Ukrainian Cross Procession, which traditionally takes place in Kyiv on the Day of the Baptism of Rus. But they put up with the situation, because they understand the complexity of quarantine conditions in Ukraine. However, they just can’t understand why, under the same conditions, political marches of thousands are out in the streets of the capital, said Archbishop Nikolai (Kapustin) of Kremenchug and Lubny to the UOJ.

The hierarch recalled that every year on the eve of the Baptism of Rus Feast, hundreds of thousands of people walk along the streets of Kyiv in a religious procession, "offering their prayers to God and St. Vladimir about their country and their loved ones". The All-Ukrainian Cross Procession has become a unique and anticipated event in the spiritual life of Ukraine.

“This cross procession has already become an integral tradition not only of the whole Church, but also of our capital; a joyful event millions of people throughout Ukraine look forward to,” said the hierarch. “And this year, the Primate of the UOC, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, was forced to take a very difficult and hard decision: to cancel the All-Ukrainian Cross Procession, because it is very difficult to comply with the quarantine requirements having a large flow of believers (about 300,000 parishioners participated in the event last year).”

The Primate cancelled the procession in order to “eliminate any risk of infection and, as the Apostle Paul said, ‘And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about’, i.e. ‘to cut the ground from under those’ who are just waiting for the pretext to accuse the Holy Church of some 'wrongdoing',” the Archbishop emphasized.

He also said that "the UOC believers throughout the country felt rather disappointed by the announcement of the cancelled full-scale celebration of the Baptism of Rus, but they understand that quarantine restrictions must be observed, since the situation with COVID-19 remains grave in the country."

At the same time, according to the hierarch, “a great deal of parishioners are perplexed by the crowded march of Poroshenko’s supporters on July 1 in Kyiv, which, from the point of view of quarantine restrictions, is the same crowd of people as during the religious procession. At the same time, the march participants did not bother a lot about adhering to sanitary norms. Why is it so that believers cannot while politicians can?”

“The ill-wishers of the Church are very fond of talking about the moral responsibility of the hierarchy of the UOC, which ostensibly exposes Her believers to the risk of getting an infection during worship. In the case of the abolition of the All-Ukrainian Cross Procession, one can see that the Church demonstrates high social responsibility to the detriment of Her traditions, which cannot be said about some politicians who believe themselves highly concerned about the well-being of Ukrainians,” said the Archbishop.

According to him, what is going on today in Kyiv says a lot.

“This situation demonstrates that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is truly concerned about the health of Her parishioners, and all the ‘quarantine criticism’ from the media and some political forces toward the UOC is nothing more than a manipulation,” concluded the UOC hierarch.

Earlier, the UOJ reported on how the anniversary of the Baptism of Rus and the 400th anniversary of the revival of the Orthodox Church hierarchy in Ukraine will be celebrated in 2020.

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