UOC hierarch on "Miriane": Believers no longer want to be passive observers

Archbishop Bogolep of Alexandria and Svetlovodsk. Photo: alexandria-eparhia.org.ua

Archbishop Bogolep (Goncharenko) believes it is necessary to support the worthy initiative of believers and to enable a person to be involved in a common good cause.

Lay people no longer agree to play the role of passive listeners and are ready to actively participate in the service of God and the Church, and this initiative must be supported, the ruling bishop of the Alexandrian Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Bogolep of Alexandria and Svetlovodsk, commented for the UOJ on the appearance in Ukraine of the Public Union Miriane (“Laity”), which calls on the believers of the UOC to unite in defense of their rights, traditional values and the Church.

“We live in an interesting time, and it is amazing to observe how the world and society are changing,” the hierarch noted. “As a rule, we do not have a very positive attitude to changes, notably when it comes to the Church. But, I think, we need to learn to take heed of game-changers in our worldview behind all the negative scenarios. This also applies to the issue of the participation of the laity in the life of the Church. The question is certainly not new, but, you see, quite striking and, most importantly, objective changes are taking place before our eyes."

Nowadays, the laity no longer agree to play the role of passive listeners and consumers of "religious services" and are ready to actively participate in serving God and the Church, Vladyka Bogolep stated. Moreover, he added, this is an actual fulfillment of the vows given in baptism.

“A person who has received the gift of divine Love in the sacraments is filled with this Love himself and seeks to pass it on to others. This testimony (about the action of God, about the experience of life in Love, Freedom and Peace) is the essence of the laity’s ministry.

Today, lay people are, among other things, educated, responsible and conscientious people who are active members of civil society. And this is a completely new reality for Ukraine, which testifies to two things. First, the structure and quality of the ecclesiastic environment is changing for the better. Second, the society in Ukraine is becoming more inclusive,” the bishop emphasized.

In his opinion, the Laity project, which encompasses journalists, publicists, intellectuals, scientists and ordinary people, who “root” for their Church and are ready to legally defend their rights, is just an example of such an active position of believers who come out shoulder to shoulder to protect their faith and moral values.

“The laity has their own advantages: they enjoy more freedom in terms of organizing life, they have much more ample opportunities for communication – in the family, at work, in education, on vacation, in transport, even in a store. This raises the question of the variety of forms of their initiatives in a new way. Thus, their voice is of great importance,” he said.

In this regard, it is essential to remember the need to maintain a worthy initiative and enable a person to be involved in a common good deed, Vladyka emphasized.

“It is important that a layman feel needed and cared, supported and helped by his spiritual brothers and sisters, as well as elders and hierarchs. This will strengthen the internal unity of the Church, especially if individual talents and capabilities complement each other ... It is necessary to update the forms of cooperation between the clergy and the laity. On the one hand, the clergy should be able to support the initiative of the laity, have more confidence in them as well as a sober idea of what exactly a person can and wish to take real responsibility for. On the other hand, the laity should contribute to the revival of an intensive church and liturgical life.

I think that all this is possible as long as our laity are "taught faith". This will help them to enter deeper into the spirit and meaning of Church Tradition, to cognize it in its integrity, to gain experience and strength in it for their ministry and testimony,” summed up Archbishop Bogolep of Alexandria and Svetlovodsk.

Earlier, the UOJ wrote that on June 15, the “Miriane” calls on the believers of the UOC to come to the Verkhovna Rada at 10 AM to protect their rights.

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