UGCC rep gets offended for Dumenko saying OCU is “dominant Church”

23 December 2021 12:12
Sviatoslav Shevchuk and Epifaniy Dumenko. Photo: Sviatoslav Shevchuk and Epifaniy Dumenko. Photo:

The Uniate priest believes that Epifaniy Dumenko should remember “we're all brothers in Christ”, and the words about “canonical territory” should be left behind.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church believes that Epifaniy Dumenko should not call the OCU the “dominant” church of the country, since such a name contradicts the Gospel. Hieromonk of the UGCC Justin Boyko wrote about this in his blog.

Commenting on Dumenko's interview, Hieromonk Justin Boyko said that the head of the OCU, instead of drawing the journalist's attention to the illogic of the questions about coordinating the visit of the Pope to Ukraine, said that the OCU is "the dominant Church", and Ukraine is its "canonical territory." This means, according to Dumenko, that the Pope must coordinate his visit to Ukraine with the OCU.

For the representative of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, these words became "a fly in the ointment in a barrel of honey that is quite often mentioned in Ukrainian history”.
He noted that the word “dominate” in theological terminology has a negative meaning since it “contrasts radically with the lifestyle of those who want to imitate Christ,” reminding Dumenko of Christ's words from the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 20:25-27).

In addition, according to Boyko, “the old concept of the ‘canonical territory’ and now the new concept of the ‘dominant Church’ do not fit into the modern context of the life of the Church or contradict the evangelical spirit, they also significantly destroy the success of the Church’s mission in the modern world, which is secularizing at a frantic rate."

The Uniate priest emphasized that "Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew have recently been very active in emphasizing the need to realize the evangelical message that "we are all brothers "in Christ".

Boyko said that Epifaniy's words about the “canonical territory” and the “dominant Church” “did not go unnoticed by the hierarchs, priests and faithful of the UGCC, who at one time were most excited and supportive of the unification of Ukrainian Orthodoxy through the receipt of Tomos in January 2019”. He suggested that there would likely be no official response from the UGCC, "as it would have a negative impact on inter-church relations in Ukraine".

Justin Boyko said that “in Catholic moral theology, the principle of correctio fraterna (fraternal reminder), which is based on the words of Jesus (Matthew 18,15-17), is well known,” and noted that the words of Epifaniy “are the cause of fraternal reminders”, and they "certainly do not build the desired unity of the Church, at least in Ukraine, for which the Savior himself prayed so fervently before his passions."

Boyko also believes that the reaction to Dumenko's words should be public, so his "purpose as a theologian" was "to draw attention" to Dumenko and his entourage "that certain concepts he touched upon should be left behind".

“All Churches of Vladimir's Baptism should make every effort not to seek an elder who has the right to rule in Ukraine but to restore the Ukrainian people in Christ,” Boyko resumed.

As reported, the UGCC priest Justin (Yuri) Boyko is convinced that all "thinking and patriotic" Ukrainians still consider Petro Poroshenko to be the "real" president of Ukraine.

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