Why the Greeks are responsible for the raiders they tamed
Today, the Greeks, who recognized the OCU, are responsible for all the bruises, tears and trials of the UOC believers, who are persecuted by Dumenko's henchmen.
The seizure of the UOC temples by Dumenko activists and the authorities has reached a new level, which can be conventionally called “shameless”. If earlier the OCU somehow tried to present the situation as if the church community of the UOC itself was voting for the transition, now this is not at all. Today, in the spring of 2023, the power of might, rather than the power of right, decides everything. And it is used not only by ordinary actors of the OCU, but even by those who are on friendly terms with Patriarch Bartholomew, other primates and hierarchs, as well as the abbots of Athos monasteries.
Khoroshiv village near Zhytomyr
Here, activists gathered a crowd near the House of Culture to transfer the St. Michael's Church to the OCU. Several dozen parishioners who defended the temple were simply swept away. The fence, the outer doors of the temple, then the inner doors were cut off with angle grinders. The church was taken over.
The “priest” of the OCU tells people why it happened: in order to say “Christ is risen” in Ukrainian: “For what did the children die, for what did they die? For praying in Russian? Do they say ‘Khristos voskrese’ (‘Christ is Risen’ in Church Slavonic – Trans.) in Ukraine? No, in Ukraine they say ‘Khrystos voskres’ (Christ is risen’ in Ukrainian – Trans.)!”
Boyarka city near Kyiv
Here, a group of people in military uniforms and balaclavas, led by OCU cleric Vasyl Lilo, seized St. Michael's Church. In February, Mayor Zarubin organized an illegal meeting of the townspeople of Boyarka to transfer the temple to the OCU. The religious community held its own, legal one, where it decided to stay in the UOC and turned to the police about the actions of the authorities. Proceedings are open in court.
Despite this, armed people in camouflage, who are called Zarubin's army in the city, went to capture.
And when you see these shots, there is a feeling of helplessness. Everyone present knows and understands that a crime is being committed, an open and undisguised seizure of the church, but no one can do anything. The police are just silently watching, because the local princeling, Mayor Zarubin, controls everything. The bandits slowly cut off the gate, then the doors of the temple. Spray gas. Beat the abbot and mother. Not too much, just not to interfere.
And the main conductor of all this crime is the “priest” of the OCU, Vasyl Lilo. He has his own St. Nicholas Church in Boyarka, which is usually half empty. Still, he decides to seize another one.
The next day, Lilo performs a service in the newly raided temple. Several people attend it, while the real community has to pray near the gate on the street. The temple itself is guarded by militants with weapons.
Lilo is not just an ordinary raider, of which there are a lot in the OCU. This is a confidant of the OCU leader, a member of official international delegations, who is on close terms with the primates and hierarchs of several Local Churches.
Here he is with Patriarch Bartholomew, here he receives an award cross from him.
Here is Lilo with Elpidophoros, head of the Phanar Archdiocese in the USA.
Here – with the Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria.
Here – with the Primate of the Cypriot Church, Archbishop Georgios.
In this photo, Lilo is at the service with the Greek primate Hieronymos.
Here – with the abbot of the Athonite Monastery Xenophontos, Archimandrite Alexios.
After the seizure, Lilo went as part of the OCU delegation to Greece, to see Metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki.
What does all of this mean? It means that today the recognition of the OCU by Athonites, primates and hierarchs of the Local Churches is no longer just a matter of church policy. This is the division of responsibility for all the actions of Serhiy Dumenko's henchmen. There is a byword from Exupery’s The Little Prince: "We are responsible for those we have tamed." Hence, the Greeks, who recognized the OCU, are responsible for all the bruises, tears and trials of the believers of the UOC, who are being persecuted by Dumenko's wards. This is not only about Vasyl Lilo, with whom they communicate personally, but also everyone involved. For example, about Dumenko’s flock in Trebukhiv, who seized the temple of the UOC in April 2023.
Back in 2022, Serhiy Dumenko received the mayor of Brovary, Ihor Sapozhko, with deputies, who acted on behalf of the Intercession community. Everyone around knew perfectly well that this was a brazen deceit, that Sapozhko and the deputies had nothing to do with the community. However, like in Boyarka, it doesn't matter at all if you have the power. People in camouflage come, cut off gates, doors with grinders and seize the temple. They also kick the priest and his family out of their house. Let's hear what the Christian views of the new owners of the church in Trebukhiv are. They say the Bible and Holy Communion preparation prayer books are trash they throw in the landfill.
Yaroslav Bondarenko, OCU activist: “We are disposing of the rubbish (about books with prayers before Holy Communion – Ed.). We’ve found rubbish. We will give this book (Bible – Ed.) to Bohdana (deputy of the Brovary Regional Council – Ed), she will dispose of it. Russian trash (Bible – Ed.), which will no longer be in our churches. Rubbish plus rubbish, take that away.”
Look at the scene where the community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is driven out of their shrine. Listen to these wild cries of people who call themselves Christians, look at their faces. Now take a look at the people with icons who are leaving their church. Are they both disciples of Christ?
It often seems to us that the evangelical times are irretrievably gone, that today it is impossible to suffer for the faith, that this is simply impossible in the current civilized era.
But did the parishioners in Trebukhiv somehow deserve their exile? Are the Boyarka believers, who are now compelled to pray at the gates of their church, to blame for something? Maybe these two elderly women in Ternopil deserved a corridor of shame?
Well, are they really FSB agents, Muscovites and Moscow priests who need to be sent to Moscow? Of course not. We all know that this is complete nonsense. All these people are to blame only for the fact that they are the disciples of Christ. There is simply no other reason to harass them.
Let us remember the warning of the Savior: "If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also." Let us also remember His other words: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Isn't it what Christ said 2000 years ago about these people?
But if this is so, then who are those who are persecuting them today? Are they also disciples of Christ?
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined,” says the Savior. Some disciples of Christ cannot persecute, insult, beat others, they cannot throw the Word of God into a rubbish bin. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.” Violence, malice, hatred, blasphemy cannot have anything in common with God's will. Consequently, those who do all this are not His disciples at all. In the spiritual battle, they are on the other side. Well, simple logic suggests that the hierarchs who support such people are also on the same side. And everything indicates that this is not the side of Christ.