What do the persecutors of the Church keep in their cupboards?
Many of the politicians who today most zealously oppose the Church served very different ideals just a short time ago. It is time to remind them of this.
The searches of UOC temples that the security services conducted in many eparchies have clearly demonstrated that nothing of what the media reported was found. There are no weapons, no sabotage groups or facts of cooperation with the enemy in the churches and monasteries of the UOC. The most "terrible" of all the finds in dozens of religious sites of the Ukrainian Church are the newspapers from ten years ago, with the "right" places underlined in advance, and old books published in Moscow.
Some of the SBU findings even look comical. Others arouse nothing but bewilderment. For example, "Liturgical Collection" for 1976. What is its crime? That it explains to the "Moscow Patriarchate" how to serve liturgies. So, one might as well classify Service Books, Typikons and Mineaia as "criminal" literature. They, too, speak of the liturgy.
Or, for example, what is "criminal" about children's Bibles or Catechisms "found" in the Eparchy of Chernivtsi? They are "propaganda literature"! What about "Apostolic Piety: On Piety and the Christian Life According to the Decrees of the Holy Apostles”? These are actually excerpts from the "Decrees of the Holy Apostles" written in the fourth century. Obviously, the title of the Moscow Publishing House "Sibirskaya Blagozvonnitsa" caught the attention of the law enforcers.
No less surprising was the "find" in the Dnipropetrovsk Eparchy. The law enforcers seized a car that was taking "forbidden" materials out of the eparchy. What kind of materials? Old messages by Patriarch Kirill and invitations to the Victory Parade from 2011.
Following the SBU searches in Kryvyy Rih on 29 December, the “Glavcom” resource wrote: "Priests of the Moscow Church worked for Putin: Evidence.” The photos (by the way, it is unclear how the journalists got hold of them) include Patriarch Alexi's Letter on granting independence to the UOC, his letter to the Minister of Justice of Ukraine on the status of the UOC, Patriarch Kyrill's book "The Church Calls for Unity" and the magazine "Save our Souls”. Can a mentally healthy person call all this the evidence of work for Putin? The answer is hardly needed.
It is clear that in court all these "materials" cannot serve as proof of guilt of UOC priests or bishops. First, the guilt should be more concrete and obvious – correspondence, assignments, public speeches, etc. Secondly, so far, thank God, no one has been tried in Ukraine for reading books. Thirdly, even if I have some books (not prohibited by law!), it does not mean that I share the opinion of the authors of these books – I can study or challenge the author's view. Fourthly, if you use a century-old prayer book or a newspaper published 15-20 years ago as prosecution material, then in Ukraine, most of the inhabitants and almost all the politicians can be held liable for a lot of crimes.
Think about it – the clergy of the UOC are accused of keeping and reading books that were published many years ago. But for some reason, none of the politicians is accused of things much more serious than some newspapers.
Poroshenko: "Shake hands, hug!"
One may recall former president Poroshenko's famous phrase "shake hands, hug!" during a conversation with Putin in 2015, two months before Debaltsevo. One may recall Poroshenko's business in Russia during the hostilities in the Donbas, with regular tax payments to the coffers of the aggressor state.
The media and Ukrainian politicians like to remind the leadership of the UOC about the joint photos with Putin. But why don't they remind many Ukrainian politicians of the same? For example, Poroshenko. Here is a photo of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko "shaking hands" with Putin.
Or here is Petro Poroshenko's eulogy to Yanukovich for the Kharkiv agreements signed with Russia in 2010, later called criminal. He saw no problem at all in signing the agreement extending the stay of the Black Sea Fleet until 2042: "We have a huge number of other problems that we need to solve with Europe, and the Black Sea Fleet problem will be the last on that list.”
Yelensky as a fighter against "Judaic Zionism"
Another person who believes that the UOC should be liquidated because there is "evidence" of its guilt and cooperation with the aggressor state is the current head of the State Ethnopolitics and Religion Committee, Viktor Yelensky.
He has said recently that "we must stop the use of religion for subversive purposes".
Well, Yelensky is really an expert in this sense. After all, he served the Soviet state faithfully for many years, and not just anywhere, but in the ideological field. It is true that at that time he fought against Judaism, which Viktor saw as a threat to the communist system.
Thus, in 1988 (that is, 12 years after the publication of the same "Liturgical Collection" that is now imputed to the UOC) Viktor Yelensky wrote the book "Jewish Clericalism and Zionism". As stated in the preamble, the book "critically analyses the ideological platform and political practice of the alliance between Zionism and Jewish clericalism".
But most importantly, in his work Yelensky exposes "anti-communist and anti-Soviet subversions of the clerical-Zionists" (!) and gives an answer "to their falsifications about the situation of religion and believers in the USSR". One can have no doubt that in his book, Yelensky talked about how well the believers lived in the USSR. Therefore, we are not surprised when today Viktor Yelensky says that Ukraine has "an exemplary level of religious freedom". We are not surprised, because people like Yelensky serve any power. They can instantly turn into the right colour and always say what is expected from them.
Iryna Farion as a competent Russian language tutor
Here, for example, is Iryna Farion, the now-famous "patriot" of Ukraine, who is convinced that all UOC priests are "FSB agents in cassocks". On December 4, 2022, she declared that "the Moscow Church is the main spiritual poison of Ukraine", and in April of the same year she called for "killing Satan – the Moscow Church".
And if in the Petro Poroshenko case, we are dealing with a man who changes his views like a chameleon changes its skin colour, Farion has deliberately fought the Church all her life. First, in the ranks of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and now – as an ardent "patriot" of Ukraine.
The State Archives of Lviv have file No. 356, inventory No. 1, fund No. 3567. This document contains minutes of meetings of the Komsomol Committee of the Lviv State University named after I. Franko, among which were Minutes № 10 of March 10, 1987. The third issue on the agenda of this meeting was "On the provision of characteristics-recommendation for becoming a candidate member of the CPSU to Comrade Farion I. D.".
Comrade Farion, a member of Komsomol since 1978 (two years after the appearance of the " Liturgical Collection", which is now being blamed on the UOC), was accepted into the Communist Party unanimously. The basis for this decision was a recommendation that was signed by Stepan Kubiv, then secretary of the LSU Komsomol Committee (he later became an MP from “Batkivshchyna”). Kubiv noted that Comrade Farion, "as a member of the faculty KID (International Friendship Club – Ed.), repeatedly conducted conversations with foreign nationals in order to better teach them the Russian language".
Unexpectedly? No. Times have changed, Ukraine gained its independence, and Farion, without changing anything internally, simply changed the terms. She was a communist and remains one, and she is still fighting the Church.
By the way, we could not find any documents that prove that she left or was expelled from the Communist Party before August 30, 1991, when the CPSU was officially banned on the territory of Ukraine.
Korchynsky as Yanukovych's associate
And here is another "patriot" of Ukraine who believes that all priests of the UOC should be put "in the basement" and churches of the "Moscow version" should be burned down – Dmytro Korchynsky.
However, in 2004 the same Korchynsky zealously and furiously supported Viktor Yanukovych, and created a coalition with Natalia Vitrenko (a very pro-Moscow politician); and as for Yushchenko he said then that "it is the biggest illusion" because "he is most dangerous as, above all, he represents the bureaucratic elite".
Moreover, it was Korchynsky who led the movement against Ukraine joining NATO. Together with his associates, he picketed the Cabinet of Ministers and stated that if our country was accepted into the Euro-Atlantic Alliance, it would cease to be a sovereign state and would be governed from Brussels.
Even in 2012, he claimed it would be better to join Al Qaeda instead of NATO. I wonder whether Mr Dmytro remembers all this and whether he will be able to repeat everything he said 10 years ago.
In fact, the main question is not this, but why all these people (Poroshenko, Yelensky, Farion, Korchynsky and others) accuse the UOC of "working for the enemy" without proof, forgetting about their service to the same enemy? Why do the SBU accuse the UOC of printed materials from 10 years ago, with which the UOC itself has nothing to do, and "forget" about the words and actions of Ukrainian politicians? Words and actions for which none of them has apologized or repented.
And it's as simple as that. All of the SBU's "findings" in the UOC churches are simply a "picture" work designed to convince Ukrainians that the UOC is an "enemy". No one is interested in any real facts and evidence. As they say today, nothing personal, just business. And all those who are now gullibly listening to the endless song in the media about the "crimes" of the Church should be aware of this.