His Beatitude Onuphry: The future of Orthodoxy in Ukraine depends on us

Primate of the UOC, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry. Photo: facebook.com/Viсtor Kotsaba

The actions of the Patriarch of Constantinople in Ukraine gave rise only to new disputes and splits in World Orthodoxy, the Primate of the UOC stated.

The future of Orthodoxy in Ukraine depends on our steadfastness in the faith, on our allegiance to the Church, loyalty to Her doctrine and canonical tradition. His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kyiv and All Ukraine stated this in his address to the participants of the scientific-practical conference dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the bestowal of the Patriarchal Missive Letter of independence and self-governance to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The text of the welcome address of the Primate of the UOC was published by the Information and Education Department of the UOC.

“The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has passed a difficult historical path,” noted His Beatitude Onuphry. “These 30 years have been marked by certain achievements and disappointing losses. It was a time of large-scale spiritual revival. Thousands of churches and hundreds of monasteries were restored; educational institutions and numerous charitable and educational organizations were created from scratch. The Church was able to master completely new spheres of activity: numerous programs appeared on television and radio, hundreds of projects were implemented on the Internet, and the church mission is being actively carried out with the help of modern social networks.

At the same time, he stressed, the development of Orthodoxy in independent Ukraine was marked by a grave wound of church schism, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church throughout the past years had to constantly defend the canonical principles of church structure in polemics with those who departed from church unity.

“Unfortunately, church divisions in Ukraine remain unresolved even today,” the Primate added. Furthermore, recent years have brought along only an aggravation of confrontation. We are faced with numerous seizures of our temples and with openly discriminatory policy of state authorities in relation to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church."

Today, the church conflict in Ukraine has become one of the central problems of the entire World Orthodoxy, His Beatitude stated, and "the actions of the Patriarch of Constantinople in relation to Ukraine have resulted in only new disputes and divisions between the Local Orthodox Churches."

“Looking over the difficult historical path of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, we must realize that a huge responsibility is entrusted to us. The future of Orthodoxy in Ukraine depends on our steadfastness in the faith, on our allegiance to the Church, loyalty to Her doctrine and canonical tradition. Despite all the hardships, we must testify both with our word and with our life of Christ, about love and forgiveness, about holiness and moral purity, we must get across the word of God to our people. We must offer a sincere prayer to God for our Church and for our country,” the Primate of the UOC stressed.

It is extremely important, he added, that the students of theological schools, who will become pastors of the Church tomorrow, understand this.

“We must all bear in mind that Christ is our life. Everything else is secondary. The Shepherd of the Church is the one who dedicated his life to Christ and is ready to follow Christ to Calvary. Pastoral service lies in self-sacrifice. ‘The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep’ (John 10:11). We must always be ready for sacrificial ministry,” His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry emphasized.

In conclusion, the Primate noted that this conference is a good platform for a calm and professional discussion of the problems and prospects that are facing the Church today, and “we must look for ways to overcome the difficult trials that have befallen the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”

As the UOJ reported, on October 27, the XII International Scientific and Practical Conference "Spiritual and Secular Education: History of Relations - Modernity - Prospects", dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the bestowal by Patriarch Alexy II of the Patriarchal Missive Letter of independence and self-governance to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, began in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

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