UOC bishop: Founders of OCU didn't consider loyalty of believers to Christ

Metropolitan Varsonofy (Stoliar) of Vinnytsia and Bar. Photo: eparhia.vinnica.ua

Metropolitan Varsonofy (Stoliar) explained why Poroshenko's program to transfer the UOC communities to the OCU did not work.

The scheme to transfer the UOC communities to the new structure did not work in spite of pressure from the state, because its authors did not take into account the loyalty of ordinary believers and priests to Christ, said Metropolitan Varsonofy of Vinnytsia and Bar in an interview to the press service of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Vladyka Varsonofy said that Vinnytsia became one of the springboards for testing Poroshenko's schemes to transfer churches to the OCU.

"There was a kind of testing ground here," the hierarch noted. “The president's administration had a program for transferring UOC congregations and pressuring bishops and priests to get them to transfer to the new structure."

According to the metropolitan, in order to seize the UOC congregations, the ideologues of the OCU applied "a business structure scheme, which they intended to leverage over the Church." 

"But they did not take into account, as His Beatitude said, that the Church as an organism consists of believers and the latter will not trade the most valuable thing in their life – loyalty to Christ – for anything," emphasized Bishop Varsonofy. 

He noted that despite serious attempts and pressure on the clergy, the founders of the OCU were not able to implement their project as a whole. In the Vinnytsia diocese about twenty priests, "who were directly dependent on the former ruling bishop," moved to the new structure. 

"All the rest, which is about 260 priests, remained faithful to Christ despite the oppression of the local authorities," emphasized Metropolitan Varsonofy.

As the UOJ reported, Epiphany Dumenko said that the UOC congregations are not moving to the OCU because they have new churches built for them.

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