UOC publishes an appeal of monastics to Patriarch Bartholomew

Participants of the Congress of monasticism of the UOC in Pochaiv. Photo: news.church.ua

The Phanar head was called on to assess the consequences of his actions to the canonical Church in Ukraine and reconsider the decisions that provoked the divisions.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church published the appeal of monastics to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, adopted at the Congress at the Holy Dormition Pochaiv Lavra on July 15, 2021. The text signed by the delegates and the chairman of the Congress, Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl, was published on the website of the Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra on July 29.

In their address, the monastics called on the head of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to assess the consequences of his treacherous actions against the canonical Church in Ukraine and reconsider his decisions so as not to go down in the history of Orthodoxy in the ranks of the traitors to the Church.

The UOJ publishes the full text of the document.

“Your Holiness!

The millennial tradition of Orthodoxy has been built on the unity of the Local Orthodox Churches, each of which fully possesses all the fullness of grace, and all together form the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Ecumenical Church.

This unity of the Local Orthodox Churches can be likened to the Holy Eucharist, where in the entire Holy Lamb is all of Christ, but in every particle is all of Christ, too. From time immemorial, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has kept such an ecclesiology, paying tribute to the seniority of the ancient Orthodox Churches. We, believers in Christ, remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ that He did not come to be served, but to serve (see Matt. 20:28). Therefore, any teaching associated with special powers and special status is always disposed to the spirit of this world.

Your Holiness, on July 15, 2021, 310 participants of the monastic congress from 258 monasteries and 56 sketes, households and communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church gathered at the great Holy Dormition Pochaiv Lavra in order not only to discuss the pressing issues of monastic life but also to respond to those processes in world Orthodoxy, which undermine the unity of the Orthodox Church. We, monastics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, have always treated the spiritual tradition of the great Greek monasteries with respect and reverence. For us, both Holy Mount Athos and other monasteries in Greece have been places of receiving spiritual guidance and care. This phenomenon is traditional for the monastic tradition of our Church. Almost every monastery in Ukraine has icons painted on Mount Athos and Greece-related shrines. We treated the Greek monks, from whom we received spiritual instruction in simplicity, with love and reverence. We remember your visits to Ukraine, as well as your representatives’, when you illustrated in every possible way your support for the legitimate Metropolitan of Kyiv, first to His Beatitude Metropolitan Vladimir (Sabodan), and then to his successor, Metropolitan Onuphty of Kyiv and All Ukraine. Therefore, for us the greatest pain and the greatest sorrow were those treacherous actions that you, as a first among equal bishops of the Orthodox world, made towards the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. We are at a loss as to what motivated your decisions, but we see with our own eyes what they led to. With confusion in our hearts and sorrow, we, monastics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, ask you, Patriarch Bartholomew, how your morality accepts the level of turmoil that your decision brought to our country: the seizure of churches, the beating of ordinary believers, discrimination of our pastors and flock at the state level, calls for the extermination of our clergy? Do you understand that in your declining years, you became the reason for the division of the one people of God, in which, according to the words of the Apostle Paul: “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all” (Col. 3:11)? To please what anti-church forces, you committed an unprecedented crime against the Church? Do you realize that into the bloody confrontation that sows grief among our people, you brought new seeds of religious struggle, from which the Lord saved us earlier?

In this situation, we, the monastics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, call upon you to assess the consequences of your actions and reconsider your decision. Become the first bishop and father recognized by all Orthodox Christians again. Remember the firm commitment to Orthodoxy of your great predecessors. Think what a great responsibility will rest on you if in the history of Orthodoxy your name will forever be associated with trampled unity and will not be on a par with the names of your great predecessors and saints: John Chrysostom, Photius, Tarasius, Gennady, but among the traitors to the Church that defiled the Throne of Constantinople.

Before the common shrines of all Orthodox Christians, we, the bishops, abbots, and abbesses of all the holy monasteries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, offer our prayers to the Merciful Lord to grant you to see what your desire to unite the legitimate Church with those who fell from it decades earlier and strengthened in their hardheartedness, sowing confusion and division among ordinary people, has led to.

As reported, on July 15, 2021, the Congress of Monasticism of the UOC took place in the Pochaiv Lavra, which became the largest of such events previously held.

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