Metropolitan Fund of State Dept: why OCU created a charity structure

Primate of the OCU Epiphany Dumenko. Photo: UOJ

The United States began to openly use the OCU for its geopolitical purposes.

On February 4, 2020, Epiphany Dumenko officially presented the creation of the charitable foundation “Metropolitan Fund of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine” under the OCU. Charity is good, of course, but there are nuances that make one wonder: will this fund really be engaged in what the head of the OCU has declared? What questions arise to the fund and what conclusions can be drawn if, apart from the official words of Dumenko, we dig a little deeper?  

Screenshot of website

Dumenko presented his foundation as part of the celebrations for the anniversary of his own entronization. However, they created this structure in October 2019 specifically for the visit of Dumenko to the United States. The site reported on February 3: “In the framework of the meeting of the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphany of Kiev and All Ukraine, with the US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, the conversation continued on the Metropolitan Fund of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which was presented to the Secretary of State in October 2019 in Washington during the official visit of Metropolitan Epiphany to the United States."

Consequently, almost four months passed from the moment the foundation was presented in America to the moment it was presented to Ukrainian society. But if the fund was created in Ukraine for the needs of the OCU or Ukrainian society, then why was this fact concealed from the public at large for four months? Why was it first submitted for approval in another country? What issues with this very country were addressed by the leadership of the OCU? For whom, in this case, the fund was created: for the US Department of State or the Ukrainian society? And whose interests will it serve in the end?

Epiphany described the goals and objectives of the foundation quite nicely: “The Metropolitan Foundation will help the Church in its daily activities. This is care for the poor, for the sick, for those in need. This is the Fund that will help the Church reach believers who are based where there are no parishes. This is the Fund that will help church education. This is the Fund that will help monasteries become self-sufficient, while priests will also acquire the managerial skills they will need in their daily service. This is the Fund that will help restore and repair temples, including helping church buildings become energy-efficient. This is the Fund, which will allow Ukrainian Orthodoxy to be less vulnerable to the threat of destabilizing, politically motivated financial injections from the Russian side.”

If the Foundation was created in Ukraine for the needs of the OCU or the Ukrainian society, then why was this fact concealed from the public at large for four months?

The first eye-catching thing is the words that the Fund "will help the monasteries become self-sufficient." But what is self-sufficiency of the monastery? In business there is a concept of self-sufficiency. But a monastery is not a business. Or is it still associated with business in Dumenko’s mind? Even if we move away from the economic component, monasteries do not exist thanks to any funds (all the more they are not “blessed” by the State Department), but thanks to the monks working in them. And the OCU has big problems with it .

In October 2019, Dumenko wrote that there are 77 monasteries in the OCU. However, the number of monks in them is approximately 250, i.e. just over 3 per one monastery. But if we look at the statistics of the monasticism of the UOC-KP by dioceses (it has now migrated to the OCU), we can find out that, for example, 5 monasteries and 3 monks were registered in Ternopil Diocese in 2016! Well, it’s just right to talk about their self-sufficiency.

Epiphany said the Fund will help "priests also acquire the managerial skills they will need in their daily service." It is significant that the primate of a religious organization speaks about the acquisition of managerial skills. It means that in their daily “ministry” (probably, it is more correct to say “activity”), the priests of the OCU do not provide spiritual guidance to their flock, do not lead it to the Kingdom of Heaven, but govern it.

The passage about energy-saving church buildings is, rather, a tribute to the environmental agenda of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople he has been recycling in the international arena. In addition, if the temple is not modern, it is extremely difficult to make it energy-saving without damaging the temple architecture.

The phrase about “destabilizing, politically motivated financial injections from the Russian side” deserves special attention. The schismatic denominations of Ukraine and those who sympathize with them all the time promote the myth that the money that believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church donate to temples they go to is taken to Moscow almost after every service. "Metropolitan" Mikhail Zinkevich came to the point of absurdity that the money for candles, purchased at the UOC temples, is used to buy bullets to kill Ukrainian soldiers in the ATO zone.

Upon that Epiphany declares the exact opposite: it is not Ukrainian money that flows from Ukraine to Russia, but rather, from Russia to Ukraine. You’d better have come to a single decision, gentlemen, on who gives money to whom so as not to contradict each other.

For example, in Ternopil Diocese of the UOC-KP, 5 monasteries and 3 monks were registered in 2016! Well, it’s just right to talk about their self-sufficiency.

As for the real “financial injections from the Russian side”, this is approximately $ 1 billion per year, which Ukrainian labor migrants transfer from Russia only according to official statistics. Real proceeds, according to the NBU calculation methodology, can be twice as much. And these are not “destabilizing, politically motivated” cash inflows. This is the money that helps migrants’ families, whom the incompetent economic policy of the Ukrainian authorities forced to work in another country, to survive.

Nevertheless, Epiphany’s words about the goals of the Metropolitan Fund are only beautiful words. In turn, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who recently visited Kiev, specifically told what this fund is supposed to do. The site said that “With the help of the State Department, the Foundation plans to implement a number of social projects, in particular aimed at the reintegration of Donbas.”

Yet, the reintegration of the Donbass is not an ecclesiastic or even a social sphere but a political sphere. Moreover, we are talking about reintegration, which means that the fund will not operate in the territories controlled by Kiev, because they cannot be reintegrated into Ukraine, for they are already there, but in the territories of the unrecognized DPR and LPR.

Now the goals and objectives of the fund are slowly being clarified. The presence of the OCU in the DPR and LPR is, of course, minimal, but still there. For example, Donetsk Diocese of the OCU with the diocesan center in Donetsk, according to Wikipedia, has 78 parishes, 2 monasteries and 36 “priests”. And this is the only loophole through which the influence of the United States on the population of the territories of Ukraine not controlled by Kiev can be somehow implemented. In fact, everyone knows how the American administration is able to influence the civil society of different countries through all kinds of foundations and non-governmental organizations,.

And even if we assume that Epiphany’s Foundation will indeed carry out certain social projects in the Donbas, it will still look like an attempt to seize the initiative from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in its peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine.

Recently in a live telethon “Christmas. People instead of war. Children of Donbas”, Sergey Sivokho, NSDC adviser to the NSDC secretary, admitted that the UOC can play an extremely important role in resolving the conflict: “All people want peace. The Church, of course, as an institution that operates on all sides of the conflict, has its own voice and has always been an assistant and is distinguished by charity and peacekeeping. For example, the Sviatogorsk Monastery it would provide shelter to thousands of refugees in the most difficult times in Ukraine. The Church can act as a mediator (of the conflict – Ed.). What the Church voices is good: all the messages are peaceful.”

And even the minimal activity of Epiphany’s Foundation with competent media promotion can allow the head of the OCU to declare a “peacekeeping mission” as his organization’s staple.

Even if we assume that Epiphany’s Foundation will actually carry out certain social projects in the Donbas, it will look like an attempt to seize the initiative from the UOC in its peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine.

Now about the main thing – financing. After all, dancing to the tune of whoever pays the piper is common knowledge. The chief financier of the Metropolitan Foundation of the OCU, apparently, will be either the US Department of State itself or structures affiliated with it. According to the website, in order to work with Pompeo’s Foundation, it was instructed to create a special working group of employees from the Department of State and the US Embassy in Ukraine.

In some countries, such as Greece, the Church is funded by the state. But when a religious organization is on the payroll of a foreign state, this speaks volumes.

Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, deputy head of the UOC DECR, commented on the creation of the fund as follows: “This is rather strange, but on the other hand, it’s indicative. Our Church is often accused of the fact that Moscow allegedly pays us money, although there is not a single proof. And here America is ready to pay money to the OCU absolutely openly and unceremoniously – and there is nothing of it! It is about double standards when they openly do what they unfairly blame others for.”

And finally, about who is going to distribute the money of the Metropolitan Fund. When presenting it, Dumenko declared, “This is not the foundation of Metropolitan Epiphany. This is the Metropolitan Fund of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” Here the head of the OCU said another overt lie. This is precisely his fund: Sergey Petrovich Dumenko appears in the State Register as its sole owner.

Screenshot of website

It means that the USA relies on Epiphany rather than Mikhail Zinkevich or ex-Metropolitan of the UOC Simeon (Shostatsky). It is the hands of Sergei Dumenko that will distribute costs to the Metropolitan Fund's grant eaters. 

In the struggle for power within the OCU, Epiphany’s rates have increased significantly. This is evidenced by the fact of public and demonstrative slamming of "Metropolitan" Mikhail Zinkevich by the Synod of the OCU. On the same day when Dumenko presented the Fund, i.e. On February 4, 2020, the Synod recognized the celebration of Christmas on December 25 and January 7, which had been earlier proposed by Michael Zinkevich, as non-canonical and causing separation, although many "hierarchs" of the OCU, including Dumenko himself, had repeatedly expressed their like for the celebration of Christmas with all of "enlightened Europe". Moreover, this holiday on December 25, in addition to Zinkevich, was celebrated by another two “bishops” of the OCU. However, only he “got it in the neck”.

All this allows us to conclude that the US Department of State has specifically begun to use the OCU to implement its geopolitical goals. Talking about charity is just beautiful words designed to disguise the essence of what is happening. So are the words of American politicians about equality against the backdrop of a meeting of the head of the US State Department with only one Epiphany Dumenko from all the religious leaders of Ukraine. The visit of Mike Pompeo to Ukraine clearly showed that it is America that acts behind the OCU project and so it will pay the piper.

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