Simeon on UOC clergy: How can we forget our friendship?

OCU "hierarch" Simeon (Shostatsky). Photo: orthodox.vinnica.ua

According to former Met Simeon of the UOC, now only a few friends from the times of his studies at the Moscow Theological Seminary maintain relations with him.

"Hierarch" of the OCU Simeon (Shostatsky) shared his memories of the times of his studies at the Moscow Theological Seminary and expressed the hope that the break of friendly ties "is temporary, and the time will come when we reunite both in human and church" relationship. The former Vinnytsia bishop of the UOC, who has gone into schism, said this in an interview with DetectorUA.

Recalling that he entered the MTS on the recommendation and blessing of Metropolitan Agafangel (Savvin), who at that time headed the Vinnytsia see, Shostatsky noted that just at that time - during the preparation and celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the Christianization of Rus’ – both in the life of the Church and in his life "a new story, a new milestone began".

This, according to him, was a period of church enthusiasm, and mainly people from Ukraine went to theological seminaries: "I won't even say what this percentage was, but probably 80, if not more." And most often – from Western Ukraine and Transcarpathia.

“Especially during the rector's office of the late Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan), the number of students from Ukraine increased, and therefore such traditions remain even today in Russian regions, where priests and even bishops went. The bishops and most of the deans and priests were descendants from Ukraine, who settled down in Russia,” he added.

Speaking about his classmates and about friendship with them, Shostatsky noted that among them “there are those who have become bishops, there are those who head monasteries, or priests, archpriests who are married and have families with whom we supported (relations – Ed.) ", but now "the majority has left."

“Today (communication – Ed.) only with individuals. The majority, let's say, moved away, are aside - we do not have communication with them. But at the same time, there are many who congratulate. As I have always said: if at the present time we do not have prayer unity, then what to do with what is called human communication? We cannot forget everything that happened in our young years, then in our student years, monasticism, bishop’s office, our meetings. Not only we were familiar, but we were united, as they say, by friendship. And this is more than 30 years, with some we are familiar today. But, to our great regret, the situation that has developed in Ukraine, has separated us at the present time,” stated the “hierarch” of the OCU, adding that “it is, after all, temporary, and the time will come when we reunite both in human and in church prayer” relationships.

As reported, earlier the "Metropolitan" of the OCU Simeon (Shostatskiy) compared the majority of the priests of the Vinnytsia Eparchy of the UOC, who refused to go with him into schism in 2018, with the disciples who left Jesus Christ.

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