Head of Kharkiv-Poltava Diocese of UAOC announces the merger with UGCC
Igor Isichenko believes that the merger with the UGCC "is a valuable contribution to the treasury of the Kyiv Church, united before God."
According to Isichenko, “as early as March 18, 2020, the last, XXXI Diocesan Council decided to terminate the activity of the Kharkiv-Poltava Diocese of the UAOC (renewed) as an independent religious association and to remove from registration the Charter of the diocesan consistory”.
“But due to the pandemic, the imposition of quarantine, the liquidation of the Department for Religious and Ethnic Affairs of the Ministry of Culture and Education of Ukraine instead of the State Service of Ukraine for Ethnopolitics and Freedom of Conscience, the process of deregistration of the consistory's Charter has dragged on for eight months,” Isichenko said.
All these circumstances forced him "despite the declaration of the resignation of the diocesan bishop, by the decision of the diocesan council during this time to continue fulfilling his duties".
The head of the Kharkiv-Poltava Diocese of the UAOC said that "during this time, the parishes of the UAOC in Kharkiv, Poltava, Lozova decided to move to the Kharkiv Exarchate of the UGCC, and the communities of the UAOC in Kyiv and Kaniv to the Kyiv Archdiocese of the UGCC."
According to him, “The St. Benedict of Nursia Library of the Kharkiv Diocese, the Collegium of Patriarch Mstislav, St. Demetrius Catechetical and Pastoral Centre became part of the Kharkiv Exarchate of the UGCC and registered the corresponding changes in their charters," and “the Kharkiv Brotherhood of the Apostle Andrew the First-Called recognized the spiritual leadership of the Exarch of the Kharkiv UGCC in its charter and documented it in its charter".
Finally, says Isichenko, "today the state registration of the termination of the activities of the consistory of the Kharkiv-Poltava Diocese of the UAOC (o) as a legal entity has been carried out."
“My powers have been exhausted on this. Having issued the last decrees, I terminate the duties of the diocesan bishop, entrusted to me by the church community on July 12, 1993. The activities of the diocesan information service and all its resources are terminated. The Kharkiv-Poltava Diocese of the UAOC is disappearing from the religious map of Ukraine,” Igor Isichenko said.
However, according to him, “the invaluable experience of the confessional ministry of priests and laity in conditions of constant political and administrative pressure, the lack of reliable financial support, misunderstanding or even hostility of the public environment, the experience of personal spiritual formation, despite the mental inertia of the de-Christianized and sovietized East of Ukraine, is our valuable contribution into the treasury of the Kyiv Church, one before God. The Church of Saint Sophia".
He said that his structure "stood firm in the defence of the UAOC when partisan politicians once again attempted to ban it".
According to him, “when, after the death of Patriarch Demetrius in 2000, most of the UAOC took the path of fatal changes that discredited the Church and turned it into a puppet in political games, a number of communities from Central and Southern Ukraine joined our diocese, forced to register its own charter as “renewed” and thereby achieve independence from the odious Metropolitan Methodius (Kudriakov) and his criminal entourage."
“We tried to keep a clean banner of the UAOC until the end until it became obvious that the prospects of the UAOC both in Ukraine and the diaspora had finally ceased,” Isichenko said.
He is sure that "the liquidation of the Kharkiv-Poltava Diocese of the UAOC is not the end of the glorious 30-year path", but "it is rather a new frontier to be overcome."
Isichenko believes that “former parishioners, church communities, diocesan institutions, brotherhoods of laymen of the Kharkiv-Poltava Diocese of the UAOC are able to become a reliable creative part of the Church of the future, the Church of the Kyiv tradition, which grows out of the painful spiritual searches of the Ukrainian people”.