Met. Varsonofy: OCU succeeded much less than it had anticipated
The OCU failed to consider the factor of a believer who will never betray the Church, where he was baptized and where he receives grace, the Vinnytsia metropolitan said.
Metropolitan Varsonofy of Vinnytsia and Bar in an interview with the telegram channel Vitrazh Inform said that the OCU had accomplished much less than it had originally planned despite the fact that the administrative resource was on the side of the OCU.
“From the very beginning, the administrative machine worked against the UOC, although it was said in mass media that people could choose which churches to go to. However, inside state offices, schemes were invented on how to intimidate and transfer communities to a new structure. In the Vinnytsia region, it was planned that after the council (the "unification council" of the OCU in 2018 – Ed.), 30% of the churches would be transferred to the OCU, after the arrival of the Tomos – 50%, and after Easter – 70%. They hatched such a plan, but they admitted later that it had failed, first of all, because of the loyalty of the people,” said Metropolitan Varsonofy.
According to him, the OCU and officials, with the help of administrative resources, tried to take away the status of a legal entity from the UOC parishes, intimidated its priests, psychologically oppressed its worshipers, but they did not take into account the fact that a truly believing person would never betray Christ and the canonical Church.
“They thought they would intimidate the hierarchs and rectors of churches by saying that the churches would be empty, they summoned the UOC clergy to various government agencies and said they would no longer receive donations from sponsors. Yet, state officials did not take into account the factor of a believer who will never betray the Church in which he was baptized, where he prays and receives sacraments. They won't change it, since they have no idea what it is all about. They are not church people, they can only come up with raiding schemes for various firms and structures. But here they encountered something completely different, so their plan did not work," said Metropolitan Varsonofy.
“Then they started to chastise each other and tried to establish which party had fallen short of the target – the OCU or the administration. For example, the SBU said, ‘We did our best there, but the OCU and Epiphany did not do their amount of work.’ The heads of administrations also said, 'We fulfilled our tasks, but their priests (OCU – Ed.) did a bad job," Vladyka added.
Metropolitan Varsonofy noted that today a lot of people in the Vinnytsia diocese had returned to the bosom of the canonical Church, realizing that they had succumbed to false information or were afraid of officials.
“They realized their mistake and came back. So there is a positive side in this regard, since by the beginning of 2021 the number of people had increased significantly. Those people left the OCU because they realized that this structure was created by the state, Poroshenko and other stakeholders with the help of overseas states," he added.
As the UOJ previously reported, the spokesman of the UOC said about the role of the OCU clergy after their returning to the Church.