Repentant priest: His Beatitude received me like a son

His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry and Archpriest Volodymyr Litvenchuk. Photo: news.church.ua

Fr Volodymyr Litvenchuk, who had fallen into schism and after repentance was reinstated, spoke about his meeting with His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry.

Archpriest Volodymyr Litvenchuk, the rector of the Annunciation Church in the Volyn Eparchy,defected to the OCU in May 2022, but less than a month later he repented and returned to the canonical Church. He spoke about his mental suffering during his time in the schism. Out of 20 days in the OCU, he spent the first two weeks in a state of stress, and then depression began. And only after the repentance brought to the Primate of the UOC, Fr Volodymyr found peace of mind. The history of the priest was published by the UOC Information and Educational Department.

According to Fr Volodymyr, his conscience tormented him, and he turned to his friend in the seminary, Archpriest Sergiy (Yushchik). “I just said to him the following words: “Father, save me because I am dying,” Father Vladimir admitted. Father Sergiy contacted the assistants of the Primate, and Litvenchuk went to repentance to His Beatitude.

“The Beatitude is a holy man,” Fr Volodymyr believes. He remembered how difficult it was for him to go to Kyiv to repent. “I didn’t know what he would say, how he would treat me, but he simply received me like a father, like a son,” the former schismatic recalls with emotion. He says that for the first time in his life in 20 years in the priesthood, he felt such spiritual, pastoral, and hierarchal support. “His Beatitude heard me, His Beatitude confessed me. I am infinitely grateful that he accepted me like that lost sheep on its 20-day ‘journey’,” Fr Volodymyr said. When he returned from Kyiv, "it was a completely different state".

The Primate of the UOC instructed the clergyman who had returned from the schism, and helped him to realize what had happened so that the one who stumbled "tried all his life in the future not to do anything of the kind and live with repentance."

Fr Volodymyr recalled that, while teaching pastoral theology at the Volyn Theological Seminary, he asked himself the question: “What is the spiritual, moral state of the priests who have gone into schism, who have departed from the Church?” He could not even imagine that he would have to face these issues personally. “His Beatitude returned me to the path from which I turned,” the priest says with gratitude.

“It is a great grace that today, at this difficult time, he (His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry – Ed.) leads our Church,” Archpriest Volodymyr Litvenchuk stressed.

Now, after his repentance and reinstatement, Father Volodymyr has a completely different state of mind. "Every day I would like to serve, every day I would like to celebrate the Eucharist," he admits. Both his matushka and other people noticed a change for the better in him. Of course, he, like everyone else, is troubled by the war and everything connected with it, but his conscience is at peace. "I realised that today I am at peace with my conscience, which tells me that we are, after all, in that Church which is really the Church of Christ for us, which, led by our Primate, leads our ship to Salvation," said Fr Volodymyr.

“Now I know for sure that this should not be allowed. These are just very scary things, especially for us priests who have been banned. We grew up in this Church, the canonical Church, we received everything in this Church, together with the flock we built churches, defended them...,” Father Volodymyr said.

The cleric said that the community of the Annunciation Church, in which he is the rector, confirmed their faithfulness to the UOC: together with the twenty members of the parish, they held a meeting of the religious community, collected more than 200 signatures, and recorded in the protocol, signed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry and Archbishop Nathanael of Volyn.

As earlier reported, Archpriest Volodymyr Litvenchuk was banned from the priesthood, but after repentance, he was reinstated in the UOC in the status of the rector of the stavropegic parish of His Beatitude Metropolitan of Kyiv, and not of the Volyn Eparchy.

As the UOJ wrote, the repentant cleric of the Ternopil Eparchy returned to the UOC from the schism.

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