Vinnytsia Eparchy spokesman: 20 out of 280 priests joined OCU, 3 returned

Archimandrite Arkady (Senchukovsky). Photo: a screenshot of Anatoly Shariy's YouTube channel

The supporters of the OCU took the churches but did not take the people, said Archimandrite Arkady (Senchukovsky).

Of the 20 clergymen of the Vinnytsia Eparchy who fell into schism along with the former Bishop Simeon (Shostatsky), three have already returned to the fold of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, reports the spokesperson for the eparchy, Archimandrite Arkady (Senchukovsky), to the resource “Pravmir”.

According to him, by the end of 2018, there were 280 clerics in the eparchy. 20 moved to the OCU: an archimandrite, 16 archpriests, a priest and two deacons. By now, three priests and a deacon have returned to the UOC.

He also said that the supporters of the OCU managed to take away 28 churches from the believers. Ten congregations have preserved liturgical life, two more – their presence in churches, which no longer legally belong to them.

But the temples were taken by the people far from the Church, the archimandrite noted, and “having taken the temple, the non-believer does not become a believer. <...> They did their job and left, but the temple remained empty."

“The supporters of the OCU took the temples, the territory near the temples, but they did not take the people. The people stayed with us. And this is very important. The communities preserve their liturgical life and unite near the new rectors. They are looking for an opportunity to build a new church building or temporarily adjust some buildings and live a full-fledged liturgical life. That is, such situations consolidate the Church, purify it, temper and teach us to find ways out, to make the right decisions.

And about those who gave up slack and went into schism, we grieve and pray for the Lord to give them repentance so that they would correct themselves, feel in their souls where Christ is and where He is not. So that they do not perish in sin. And people change their minds. Even those who have been there for a long time sometimes return from the schism. There are many such examples,” said the secretary of the Vinnytsia Eparchy of the UOC.

Earlier, Archimandrite Arkady explained why the believers of the UOC did not return by force the cathedral and eparchial administration in Vinnytsia, seized by the OCU “hierarch” Simeon (Shostatsky).

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