UOC bishop explains why Pat Bartholomew did not want to meet with UOC laity
If Patriarch Bartholomew cared about the well-being of the Church, he would have met with UOC believers, who are the majority in Ukraine, said Bishop Victor.
In an interview with news-politics.com, Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshivka, Head of the UOC Representation to European International Organizations, said that during his visit to Ukraine, Patriarch Bartholomew had the opportunity to meet with UOC believers, but did not want to do so because he turned a blind eye to what's going on here.
“During his visit to Ukraine Patriarch Bartholomew had a good opportunity to really try to look into the situation: to meet not only with representatives of the OCU, but also with the believers of the UOC. Our believers were waiting for him every day during his stay in Kyiv. So if the patriarch were the person who cares about the well-being of the Church, he would have definitely met with the Orthodox Christians of our country, who represent the largest denomination in Ukraine. But he did not want to… I think he did not want to do it precisely because he had closed the issue and his eyes to what is going on in our country altogether,” noted Bishop Victor.
According to the hierarch of the UOC, after the visit of Patriarch Bartholomew to Ukraine, nothing will change for the UOC at best, or more difficult times will come at worst.
"We are upset that Patriarch Bartholomew was unable or unwilling to get to know the real picture of the developments in Ukraine. He left our country with a firm belief that everything is fine here, and his decision to recognize the OCU was the right one. This means that in religious terms, nothing will change for us at best, or the UOC will face more difficult times at worst. All the more, there are numerous examples when the government, which at the beginning of its rule took a completely neutral position on the Church and ecclesiastic issues, is increasingly sympathizing with the OCU. So far, they occur mainly at the regional level, but it is still lopsided in favor of the OCU," said Bishop Victor.
"In addition, during the visit of Patriarch Bartholomew and afterwards, we were once again convinced that Phanar is reluctant to solve the ‘Ukrainian issue’ canonically. The narrative of the patriarch and representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople that "we have given you Christianity and civilization" or that the bishops of the UOC should be silent despite the Phanar’s iniquity actually points only to one thing – the unwillingness of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to admit its mistake and try to solve it in the way conventional for the Church,” added the hierarch.
As previously reported by the UOJ, Bishop Victor said that the head of Phanar knows he has failed but will not admit it.