Who will pray in seized temples? On the OCU’s future
A new religious structure now presses men without theological education to become “priests”.
The OCU badly needs “clergymen”. Paisiy Kukharchuk, “bishop” of the OCU, wrote about this on his Facebook page.
The new structure is ready to accept the "priests" of all men married by their first marriage. Even the lack of theological education is not an obstacle – it will be enough to take a short introductory course.
“We beseech you – look in the villages for men who deserve to serve the Lord in the Holy Church. Men who can bear the burden of priesthood – do it for the sake of the future of your children, our Church and state. We will help you gain the knowledge necessary to serve God and people in the Church,” wrote the “bishop”.
The situation is amazing! While parishioners and priests of the UOC are thrown out of their temples and find shelter in huts, the seized temples are empty. There is no one to go to them and no one to serve in them.
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That was to be expected. It would have been difficult to imagine that the OCU “activists”, who would throw out old women from the temple and beat the priests, will subsequently go to these temples, pray, take the Holy Communion, repent of their sins, and lead a church life.
In order to understand it, it’s enough to see the video of the seizures of temples. Shaved heads, Nazi stripes on clothes, nationalist chants, balaclavas on faces, angle grinders in the hands of “parishioners” – all these details, which have already become familiar, initially said that churches seized by such people would remain uninhabited. “Those” do not need any temples. They only need to hate someone, beat, chase, insult, look for the “hand of Moscow” – or maybe just work out their money. Anything but a prayer.
The supporters of the “Ukrainian Church” do not even conceal that when seizing the temples they do not think about who will serve, sing, pray, and take communion there. The purpose of raiding is to expel the UOC community and nothing more. For example, in the village of Singury of Zhitomir region during the seizure of the Holy Exaltation church, the activist could not answer the question of who would be the new rector of the community. After some confusion, she called the rector ... herself!
“We beseech you — look in the villages for men who deserve to serve the Lord in the Holy Church.”
OCU "bishop" Paisiy Kukharchuk
Territorial communities which are illegally voting today on transition to the OCU will not constitute a real religious community. These people will not work for free in the temple, sing and read at the choir, help the priest at services, attend all worships and participate in sacraments regularly. They will come on Easter with their Easter cake and on the Palm Week with willows – this will be the end of their churchhood. Who will warm the temple with prayer the rest of the time, who will serve there – this question is simply not raised by the OCU activists.
Those who are now involved in church raiding simply do not lead a spiritual life. People who are seriously engaged in these things have long been members of the UOC. Why should they go somewhere and where should they go from the canonical Church?
In general, in human terms, it is even incomprehensible how one can calmly pray in the temple, from which you have just thrown out crying women and expelled the priest. Probably, this will be the very version about which it is said in the Psalms: “And let his prayer be in sin” (Ps. 108, 7). If in this case one can talk about some kind of prayer altogether.
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All this confusion shows the potential failure of the project called the Single Local Church. The schismatics will remain schismatics (so far, not a single Local Church, except for Constantinople, has recognized the OCU), and the new structure will never enlist wide support from truly practical believers.
In fact, the story with the "Renovationism" repeats itself. When in the early 1920s the Bolsheviks transferred a lot of churches to the “Living Church”, people simply did not go to them. Therefore, for example, they succeeded easily and without popular unrest to blow up the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, because at that moment it belonged to the “Renovators”. There was no temple community; there was no one to defend the shrine.
Today's "renovators" do not understand all these twists and turns either because they are bad at history or because of some kind of spiritual blinding. For them the success of church life lies in secular, material indicators – the possession of the temple, of the document (Tomos), the support of state power. But in all this there is no Christ! And the person who is looking for Christ will not linger in the OCU even if he got there by accident.
It is even incomprehensible humanwise how you can calmly pray in the temple, from which you have just thrown out old crying women and expelled the priest.
There will never be a true spiritual life in the new church structure, because the motives for creating the OCU were not originally Christian. The “Ukrainian Church” was created as a political project, contrary to the wishes of the UOC believers. The main driving force behind the project was the non-Orthodox representatives of the Ukrainian authorities who aroused financial interest with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. For example, the text of the agreement of President Poroshenko and Patriarch Bartholomew on cooperation in creating the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine mentions certain buildings and premises which Ukraine undertakes to transfer to the Constantinople Patriarchate.
If from the very beginning a new structure was born within the framework of the ideological concept of “army, language, faith” – how can it become a real Church that saves human souls?
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However, there is a blessing in disguise. The OCU now performs the wellness, sanitation function in relation to the UOC.
The new structure will clean our ranks and take the sickest souls along. Let them do what they want there: translate everything into the Ukrainian language, euro-integrate, kiss their Tomos. One man’s meat is another man’s poison.
It would be nice if they were only interested in their business. But the matter is that the ultimate goal of the OCU project is not autocephaly, not Ukrainization of the Church, not even “independence.” The OCU’s target is the destruction of the canonical Church in Ukraine. And this is evidenced by their undisguised aggression towards us, daily seizures of our temples and tacit approval of church raiding by the hierarchy of the new structure.
The main driving force behind the OCU project was non-Orthodox representatives of the government who aroused financial interest with Phanar.
That is why they do not care now who will serve and pray in captured temples. The key focus for them is not prayer but "getting the Moscow priest out!"
Anyway, the “holy church“ will manage to secure “priests”, and the “bishop” should not worry about that. There have always been fraudsters in the religious playground. Filaret is used to performing ordinations in a conveyor-belt mode. Great experience. I cannot but fancy the faces of these new-born "priests”. Choice grade; one is more spiritual than another.
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Well, it’s all for the best. The Church will be strengthened in persecution and all the dirt will flow out of it. We will build new temples. We just feel sorry for those who ruin their souls by worshiping false gods, let hate into their hearts, nurture this hatred and do evil instead good. May God bless all of them and may He give us patience and faith.
Losing a temple is an ordeal. But the most important thing is not to lose Christ. And Christ is where prayer, love, forgiveness and peace. Christ is where the canonical Church is. This is precisely what we have to save today.