UOC Chancellor informs Local Churches about pressure on the UOC in Ukraine
Metropolitan Anthony wrote to the Primates and Hierarchs of the Local Orthodox Churches about the general situation in Ukraine and in Boryspil Eparchy, in particular.
On June 20-21, 2022, Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, sent letters to the Primates and hierarchs of a number of Local Orthodox Churches, where he told about the latest events in the Boryspil diocese and in general in Ukraine. This is reported by the website of the Boryspil diocese.
The letters were sent to the heads of the Antiochian, Jerusalem, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Polish, Albanian, Czech-Slovak, American Orthodox Churches, as well as to the hierarchs of these Churches, including some hierarchs of the Cypriot Church, whom Vladyka knows personally.
Metropolitan Anthony congratulated the Primates and foreign Orthodox hierarchs on the beginning of Peter's Lent and lamented that "various anti-church forces continue to use the country’s plight for their own purposes."
As a bishop of the Boryspil diocese, His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony noted that in his diocese, “by the decision of five city and village councils, under pressure from local leadership and disregarding the opinion of true parishioners, populist and illegal decisions were made to ban or terminate the activities of the UOC in the territory of these communities.” In general, there are 36 such cases in Ukraine.
In addition, the Chancellor of the UOC drew attention in his letter to the fact that throughout the country there are actions of forcible seizure of UOC temples by supporters of the new "Orthodox Church of Ukraine".
“A total of 250 temples were seized at the backdrop of only 53 transitions. Attempts to "transfer" a given parish to the mentioned confession are nothing more than explicit church raiding, done blatantly in favor of the "OCU". Despite the declarative statements by the latter about their readiness for dialogue, the mentioned hostile actions continue in real life, which make it impossible to start a dialoogue,” Metropolitan Anthony stated.
The letter emphasizes that priests and believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in many villages and small towns are compelled to repurpose temporary premises for worship and file lawsuits, while a small number of people attend worship in seized churches. All these decisions to ban the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the seizure of its churches by OCU supporters are taking place with the aim of sowing division and enmity between Ukrainians on the ground and provoking them into violent conflicts, thereby undermining the integrity of the country from within.
“As the Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, I addressed an open letter to our President V. A. Zelensky, as well as to the Ambassadors of European and other countries in Ukraine and to international human rights organizations. However, at present, we have not yet received any clear answer, and we still do not see the appropriate actions from the state that would contribute to normalization of this situation in the country,” said Metropolitan Anthony. At the same time, according to Vladyka, despite the above-mentioned trials, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church continues to fulfill its mission among the people of Ukraine, providing assistance to all people affected by the war, refugees, and opening communities abroad to take care of those believers who had to leave the country.
In his letter, the UOC Chancellor asked the Orthodox hierarchs from the Local Churches to offer prayers for the clergy and believers of the Boryspil diocese, as well as for the entire Ukrainian people.
As the UOJ reported, deputies of the Boryspil City Council decided to "suspend the activities of the UOC-MP" for the duration of the war.