Where are UOC communities transferred to?
What actually happens with parishes which, according to Petro Poroshenko and proponents of the Ukrainian split, side with the OCU.
The mass media constantly report about ever new transitions of the communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the newly formed OCU. However, the OCU communities can be hardly found in the State Register.
Another incomprehensible thing is that there is not a single message about the transfer of the UOC KP and UAOC communities to the OCU, which, logically, should also hold parish meetings and vote for the transition from one denomination to another.
Where, then, do the parishes of the UOC get to, which change their jurisdiction? Why are the UOC KP and the UAOC not in a hurry to join the OCU, recognized at least by Constantinople?
The founding father of OCU, President Petro Poroshenko, reports over 300 UOC communities to have already been transferred to the new structure. In this organization itself, they agree to this figure. However, the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, Individuals - Entrepreneurs and Public Organizations of the Ministry of Justice gives a very surprising answer to the query “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”, made in Ukrainian.
Let's try the query for the "Orthodox Church of Ukraine” in Russian now. By this criterion, the system put out as many as seven legal entities. Among them is the "Religious Organization ‘Religious Community of the Savior Transfiguration Cathedral in the city of Vinnitsa of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine’" – the cathedral, which the former Metropolitan Simeon (Shostatsky) took along to the OCU. Another one is the community of St. Nicholas in Zhidychyn villlage, two organizations of the Kiev Patriarchate, another one – the UOC, and one more is the Russian Old Believers Church.
The search by the abbreviated name criterion – OCU – gave an even more frugal result: only five organizations, including the Kiev Metropolis of the UOC (OCU) and the Vinnitsa Cathedral. The remaining three are the Protestant churches of Ukraine.
What is the reason? After all, the creation of the OCU was announced on December 15, 2018. The community of the Vinnitsa Cathedral, which passed to the OCU (we will drop some disgraceful details of this transition), just the day after the “unification council” managed to enter into the State Register.
One might think that the rest of the communities that had joined the OCU simply did not have time to get to the State Register. But it is not so. The village community of Zhidychin voted for the transition to the OCU on February 15, 2019, reported the agency "12 channel". And the community is already listed in the State Register.
By the way, this “transition” took place illegally: instead of a religious community, a territorial community voted for the transfer of the temple to the “holy church of Ukraine”. There was cutting of the locks, uttering threats to the rector and his family, in whose house the militants had broken in the middle of the night. The whole raider scenario was implemented…
So where are those "more than 300" communities that, according to the President, were transferred to the OCU he had created? And in general, where did this figure come from? Maybe, not at all 300? For example, the RISU agency counted even more – 370 transferred communities and even made up their interactive map.
However, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church recognizes only 60 cases of transition from the UOC to the OCU. Where did RISU get the number 370? This was explained to the "BBC Ukraine" by one of the map developers Dmitry Gorevoy, who is called a religious scholar. He acknowledged that RISU offers wishful thinking: "From a purely formal legal point of view, now it is a declaration of transition so far."
True though, Gorevoy did not explain whose precisely this declaration is. Let’s fill in the gap. In the absolute majority of cases, this is a declaration of local self-governments: a territorial community, a village council, etc., but not a religious community, which under the law is the only entity that has the right to determine its jurisdictional affiliation.
Gorevoy came up with a very convenient criterion for determining such an affiliation: “From the theological point of view, they are already in the OCU. They already make a liturgical mention of Metropolitan Epiphany and their bishop during the service.” And if they commemorate, for example, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, will it mean they are in the Jerusalem Patriarchate then?
In fact, state officials are in no hurry to change the jurisdiction of the parishes of the UOC on the basis that the territorial community voted for the transition to the OCU. Because they know it is illegal. And if this is done, then it is quite possible that we will be liable for this offence. Surely, nobody wants to be brought to criminal responsibility.
Even the police in Vinnitsa issued an appeal to local governments, in which they recognized the following: “On January 17, 2019, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the law On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine (on the jurisdictional affiliation of religious organizations and state registration procedures for religious organizations with the status of legal entity ) "No. 4128-d of January 16, 2019, which establishes that the decision to change the subordination and the introduction of relevant amendments or additions to the statute are made by at least two-thirds of the number of members of a religious community (rather than a territorial community), necessary for the recognition of authorized general meeting of the religious community in accordance with its statute (regulations). Therefore, all decisions that are made at a meeting of the territorial community in relation to religion are illegal and cannot be executed.”
They are not executed, true. The absolute majority of the parishes in the State Register that were “transferred” to the OCU continue to be listed as parishes of the UOC. For example, according to the interactive map of RISU, the parish of the UOC in the village of Sosonka joined the OCU on January 17, 2019.
However, the State Register says no changes have occurred in the jurisdictional affiliation of the community.
On January 23, RISU announced the “transition” of the Holy Intercession community in Kosnitsa village to the OCU.
However, according to the State Register, the above community still belongs to the UOC.
But this is not the most interesting point. Some of the communities that voted for the transition to the OCU, led by Epiphany Dumenko, actually end up getting to the ... UOC KP under the leadership of Filaret Denisenko.
On January 11, 2019, the territorial community of Vorsovka village transferred the church to the OCU against the will of the priest and parishioners. This is already against the law, since the religious community alone can determine the destiny of its temple.
Further on we encounter an even bigger lawlessness. The temple turns out to be with the UOC KP rather than with the OCU.
And if the community is transferred to the OCU but in the end it turns out to be in the Kiev Patriarchate, then there is a body of evidence for all to see, as provided for by Art. 366 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine on "Official forgery". This article provides for a fine of up to 250 non-taxable incomes of citizens or a restriction of liberty of up to 3 years with the deprivation of the right to occupy certain posts up to 3 years.
Thus, the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, Individuals - Entrepreneurs and Public Organizations of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine impartially draws this picture to us: so far, the OCU is a “chop-chop” organization, de jure it has no parishes with the exception of the Vinnitsa Cathedral and the community of Zhidychin village. 370 parishes of the UOC, which ostensibly joined the OCU, de facto remained with the UOC or were generally registered with the UOC KP.
All this smacks of a grand scam. And this smack is even more enhanced if you pay attention to the fact that the communities of the UOC KP and the UAOC do not go anywhere at all, do not organize meetings, do not vote and do not submit documents on re-registration to the OCU. They were parishes of the UOC KP and the UAOC and they remain so. Even former metropolitan Alexander (Drabinko) pays attention to this circumstance: “I would say that today the Orthodox Church of Ukraine consists solely of the parishes that were named the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” he told the Priamoy TV channel on January 26, 2019. “As the former UAOC and UOC KP entities they must also join the new structure. <...> They also need to re-register, hold meetings on changing their affiliation. They did not automatically merge and pass to the OCU."
But the UOC KP and UAOC do not heed ex-Metropolitan Alexander. There is not a single message that any congregation of these schismatic denominations voted for re-registration in favor of the OCU.
Hence, today we have the following:
• there are no mass transitions of the UOC communities to the OCU;
• transition figures, voiced by Petro Poroshenko and RISU, are at best declarations of intent from the territorial (rather than religious) communities;
• legally “transferred” communities of the UOC either remain with the UOC or go straight to the UOC KP;
• communities of the UOC KP and the UAOC take no legal actions to join the OCU.
And now the question is: how could Patriarch Bartholomew grant the Tomos on autocephaly to such an OCU, which even after almost three months failed to well up with parishes? What or whom is this autocephaly from? It is the autocephaly from common sense, reality and the laws of Ukraine – so far this is the only independence the Ukrainian schismatics have achieved.