Met Luke: Under new power, the flywheel of UOC destruction did not stop
The attacks on the UOC clergy in Zaporizhzhia can be regarded as direct threats to all members of the Church, says Metropolitan Luke of Zaporizhzhia and Melitopol.
The state flywheel launched during the time of Petro Poroshenko to destroy the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the current government has slowed down but did not stop, said Metropolitan Luke (Kovalenko) of Zaporizhzhia and Melitopol in an interview with PavlovskyNews regarding the recent armed attacks on the priests of the Zaporizhzhia Eparchy of the UOC.
“We are now reaping the fruits of discrimination and propaganda that were launched by 'Peter the Apostate' (Petro Poroshenko – Ed.),” the bishop emphasized. "With such aggression and hatred towards the Church, these actions can be regarded as direct threats not to the Church itself since it is a divine-human organism, but to all its members."
According to him, on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia Eparchy, a negative attitude towards the clergy of the UOC is clearly felt "on the part of those who fiercely hate the canonical blessed Church and the forces affiliated with Poroshenko's structures."
In particular, the bishop specified, the media spread untrue, hateful information about the clergy of the UOC, and the Public Television, which has previously hosted the charity telethon of the UOC "Love is Merciful" for several years and broadcast programs with clergy about the basics of faith and mercy, this year “conducted a live broadcast of the service” of the OCU and “did not even bother to devote a few seconds to its airtime for our temples”.
In addition, he noted, “at our expense in one of the military units stationed in Zaporizhzhia, a house church was equipped and consecrated, in which we began to serve. Now we are not allowed there. The priests were expelled from the military units where they had brought the "Word of God" for many years and have not been allowed to this day. " They also do not register parishes, "despite the fact that the discriminatory anti-church laws that cover these actions concern eparchies rather than parishes and are blocked by a court decision since they contradict the Constitution of Ukraine."
“This is due to the fact that during the "Peter the Apostate" the state flywheel was launched to destroy our Church. Unfortunately, under the current government, it slowed down but did not stop,” said Metropolitan Luke.
He explained that, firstly, “ardent adherents of the ‘Armovir’ (army-language-faith) ideology” remained in power, many of whom are waiting for the return of Petro Poroshenko to power, “which can be done by undermining the situation in the country, including in the religious direction”.
Secondly, from the lips of some acting ministers and in the media at the state level "false, unconfirmed and hateful information is constantly being heard about both the clergy and the Mother Church, which increases the anger of society towards the latter".
Thirdly, the current government has no reaction to discriminatory anti-church laws, which, according to the bishop, can be regarded as their actual support.
Fourthly, "money is being spent on state programs to protect various minorities, but nothing is being done to reduce the level of anger in Ukrainian society, on the contrary, it is being shaken even more".
And finally, "the direction of hatred towards the Church is a good screen for diverting public attention and covering up their dirty deeds".
The Zaporizhzhia bishop stressed that until the authorities direct their efforts to reduce the level of aggression in society, any manifestations of hatred and anger, no one is immune from such attacks, and "we have only one defence – God, the means – prayer".
As a reminder, on January 16, 2021, in Zaporizhzhia, an unknown attacker armed with a knife assaulted the UOC deacon Georgy Cherpakov and his family. A few days earlier, on January 12, a priest of the Zaporizhzhia Eparchy of the UOC, Fr Vladimir Gumeniuk, was stabbed in the head.