Dumenko's virtual reality and the real life of the OCU

18 October 2021 19:31
Sergei Dumenko speaks mainly about the Kremlin, Putin, Moscow and Maidans. Photo: UOJ Sergei Dumenko speaks mainly about the Kremlin, Putin, Moscow and Maidans. Photo: UOJ

The head of the OCU, Sergei Dumenko, gave an interview in which he talked about everything – the war, the ROC, the Kremlin and politics. No word about Christ. Why?

A few days ago, the head of the OCU, Sergei (Epiphany) Dumenko, gave an interview to journalist Saken Aimurzaev. And if Sergei did not pass off his fantasies as reality, we might not pay attention to his words. But when Dumenko tries to venture out of the virtual world in which he lives and project it onto the reality in which everyone else lives, we have to respond.

So, Epiphany's talk with Aimurzaev shows, on the one hand, that the OCU head exists in a fantastic world of illusions where the desired is presented as real, and that, on the other hand, the real life of the structure headed by him has nothing to do with the illusions of the leader.

About war, Putin and Patriarch Kirill

At the very beginning of the programme, its presenter Saken Aimurzaev said that he wanted to end his religious series “in an interesting way” and said that his guest would be Dumenko, with whom they would talk “about the war, Putin, Patriarch Kirill and how the OCU is developing”.

In the course of the programme, it became obvious that Aimurzaev found it “uninteresting” to speak about anything else with Dumenko, and Epiphany himself could not talk about anything else. For more than an hour, in every word of Dumenko, the constant refrain was Moscow, with Putin, although seldom mentioned, standing as an invisible shadow behind the “primate” of the OCU.

Dumenko checks every step, as well as every movement of his religious structure, with the help of the Kremlin and Moscow. Judge for yourself.

According to him, "the first Kremlin was St. Sophia of Kyiv", and it is for this reason that "Moscow is raging". Throughout the interview, Epiphany constantly appeals to Moscow. It turns out that for him the criterion for evaluating this or that event is neither the significance of this event for the Church nor the missionary effect, but ... the reaction of Moscow.

So, showing his joint photo with Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Theodore, Epiphany proudly notes that this photo "excited our Moscow brothers very much". Perhaps, that is why he placed it in the hall of the synodal sessions of the OCU, so that, as they say, always rejoice in the "excitement" of the Moscow brothers.

Epiphany found his trip to the island of Imbros successful, because "Moscow reacted violently to Imbros". Moreover, even the visit of Patriarch Bartholomew to Ukraine was "very successful" because it provoked a "reaction from Moscow".

In general, it seems that Moscow has always taken part in Epiphany's life, even in his student years. For example, when he wanted to continue his "studies" in Greece, the embassy of this country refused him a visa three times because of Moscow, of course.

In fact, from what Dumenko said, one gets the impression that the OCU exists and lives only at the expense of the reaction of Moscow and the Russian Orthodox Church. If we take an example from the field of medicine, then the OCU is a certain organism that parasitizes at the expense of another organism and dies itself with the destruction of its habitat. In fact, the OCU simply does not have an inner meaning of existence. It was created as a weapon to resist Moscow and the Russian Church, and it is precisely this function that it fulfills. This is not a religious structure that unites a person with God but a political organization, the spearhead of which is aimed at the struggle against the Church. Moreover, if the object of struggle (Moscow or the ROC) disappears for the OCU, the OCU will also disappear because this structure does not connect its existence with anyone or anything else besides politics.

Christ or Barabbas?

When asked by a journalist whether the OCU will build a cathedral in Kyiv, Dumenko replies that “we have enough of St. Michael’s Golden-domed Monastery”, which may be “no big” (according to Saken Aimurzaev), but, apparently, can house everyone who wants to “pray” with the “primate” of the OCU. 

And, indeed, even such a relatively small church space of St. Michael’s Cathedral is not filled to capacity by OCU representatives, and most often the cathedral remains half empty. It can easily be checked by simply looking at the photographs from Dumenkovo’s "services". And the answer to the question of why the temple is empty is given by Epiphany himself.

When asked about the significance of St. Michael’s Cathedral, Dumenko said that "everyone understood what role the monastery played during the Maidan and the Revolution of Dignity". Then he said that the presidents, delegations of all countries visit the memorial wall of St. Michael’s with portraits of Ukrainian soldiers killed in the ATO. This, according to Epiphanius, is a mandatory part of the visits' agenda. That is, the meaning of the revival of St. Michael’s Cathedral is in its role in the revolution, the Maidan and the war.

But even if you read the Gospel superficially, it becomes clear that the function of the Church is not to take part in revolutions, riots or wars. Neither Christ nor His disciples anywhere said a single word that it was necessary to oppose the then occupying Roman power. Moreover, when Pontius Pilate tried to free Christ, the people, prompted by the scribes and Pharisees, chose Barabbas instead – not just a "robber", but a rebel who advocated the liberation of the Jews from the Roman yoke. So today Dumenko and his companions, instead of Christ, choose the symbolic Barabbas, instead of a sermon about love, they talk about revolution and war.

In other words, Epiphany (subconsciously?) does not even try to deny the fact that his religious structure is a purely political project that has only an indirect relationship to Christ and the Gospel. All the more strange are his words, which he refers to the ROC in general and to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in particular: “They (the Russian Church - Ed.) do not work but work like politicians. The church became a department in the state. The Church should not be a tool of influence, and the UOC should not be a tool of influence of the Russian Federation on Ukraine.” But just a few minutes before that, Dumenko had argued that "the more the president sits in his chair, the more he understands that it is necessary to support the OCU" because this very structure is "one of the driving forces behind the restoration of Ukrainian identity". Neither spirituality nor morality, nor evangelical values but "identity". Can’t this indicate the political nature of the OCU? The question, as they say, is rhetorical.

About seizures and "seizures"

We all have seen supporters of the OCU attacking Orthodox churches. We saw the beatings, abuse, hatred and anger that these "warriors of light" exude. We have also repeatedly encounted the bewilderment of various people about why neither Epiphany Dumenko nor Patriarch Bartholomew react in any way to the lawless actions of their “faithful”. After all, a Christian, let alone a bishop, cannot remain silent when other Christians are beaten. It turns out that it is possible. And even without any remorse. And all because he lives in a distorted, unreal world, in which black is white and white is black.

For example, Dumenko lies that the representatives of his structure do not seize the temples of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, but everything is exactly the opposite: “There are no seizures. It is they (the believers of the UOC – Ed.) who take over, they are raiders. We do not seize,” says a person whose supporters have already taken away more than 140 churches of the UOC.

Moreover, Epiphany does not have any inner discomfort when he says with a smile that the so-called "transfers" from the UOC to the OCU were carried out "calmly, peacefully and with love". It would be uncomfortable if Dumenko had a conscience. Or if he had a chance to think about what he is really saying. Indeed, in the event of “seizures” of OCU churches by UOC believers, we would have a big number of criminal cases or trials initiated by the injured party, that is, supporters of the OCU. We would have cases when Christians beat old women from the Dumenko structure or threw stones at the windows of his “clergy”, threatening to “cut them like pigs”, and restrict access to churches, etc.

At the same time, Dumenko, without the slightest doubt, as “evidence” of his innocence, cites “meetings of communities” at which the fate of Orthodox churches is decided. Say, people gathered and decided that the village church should belong to the OCU. However, Epiphany kept silent about what these people were, where exactly they gathered and what relation they have to the temple. The reason is understandable: very often these people have nothing to do with either the church or the church community.

In other words, the villagers gather in the club (in particular, this almost always happens in villages) and decide which jurisdiction the temple, which they do not attend, should belong. In addition, there are often cases when true believers were not even allowed to attend and participate in such meetings. So, it turns out that non-church people take the church away from Christians, and if they try to protect it (without using physical force), they are declared ... raiders based on a document adopted by the raiders. And this is no longer even a lie but explicit mockery and blasphemy of the truth.

More about numbers and the distorted reality of Epiphany

In his fantasies, Dumenko goes even further saying that “Moscow wanted the Cypriot Church to recognize the OCU ‘on paper’ but on the condition that there would be no concelebration. They even wanted to register it". Just think about it! It turns out that Moscow had nothing against the recognition of the OCU by the Cypriot Church if one condition is met – no joint ministry. Can you imagine something like that? Of course, not. Then what are we talking about?

And the fact is that Dumenko simply ascribed to Moscow that compromise document which some bishops of the Cypriot Church proposed to accept after Archbishop Chrysostomos recognized the OCU. The text says that "in view of the aforesaid, the Holy Synod, protecting the unity of our Orthodox Church, decided not to oppose the decision of our Most Beatitude Archdiocese to commemorate Epiphany as the ‘Metropolitan’ of Kyiv, but to prohibit concelebrating and entering into full Eucharistic communion with him.."  And where is Moscow here? The question is rhetorical.

Even more ridiculous are Epiphany's attempts to accuse the Russian Church of the schism in world Orthodoxy that arose due to the legitimization of the OCU. According to him, Moscow initiated the schism because it broke off Eucharistic communion with the Phanar. Bartholomew is in no way to blame for the split, but on the contrary – he tried to "help" Moscow since he gave it 30 years to settle the "Ukrainian question". When white-stone Moscow did not handle this issue – "Bartholomew found documents in which it is written that the Kyiv Metropolis was transferred to Moscow only for temporary use".

It looks extremely interesting here that Patriarch Bartholomew himself was unaware of what and who his predecessors had given to until he found the “documents”. It all looks, at best, funny, at worst – as a mockery of a gullible viewer.

Why does Dumenko thank the U.S. Department of State rather than God for the Tomos?

“We confront blackmail, pray to God and hope for God's support,” says Sergei Dumenko. But then the question arises: if the OCU was created thanks to God, why does Dumenko express gratitude for the support of his structure to the former head of the U.S. Department of State Mike Pompeo, Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker, the American delegation, and foreign ambassadors to Ukraine? Why discuss with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken how to help the “transfers” of communities from the UOC to the OCU? Or after all, how to understand the words of Makariy Maletich, who claims that the Phanar granted the Tomos to the OCU because it was confident in the support of the United States? Where is "God’s help" in all this? There isn’t any. Instead, there is pressure on other Churches from the United States, there is support for the powers that be and bandit methods of persuasion. To paraphrase a well-known saying, we can say that Dumenko must be sure that "with the help of prayer and the U.S. Department of State, more can be done than with the help of only prayer".

Dumenko is used to it. Therefore, he goes even further saying that more than half of the monks of the Kyiv-Caves Lavra agree to move to the OCU and that this transition is only "a matter of time". According to him, more than 50% of the population of Ukraine also support the OCU, and in the East of the country, "where the parishes of the UOC are twice as many as the parishes of the OCU", the support for the Dumenko structure (!) from the population is twice as large.

At the same time, Epiphany does not even notice that he contradicts himself. For example, he says that 40 students the Kyiv Theological Academy has admitted this year is “quite enough”. Even more than that, we add. Because a huge number of churches of the OCU are empty (even such "fashionable" ones as the temple where the ex-Metropolitan of the UOC Drabinko serves), and a significant part of the parishes exist only in the fictional world of Dumenko.

Epiphany is no stranger to lying. Indeed, even his teacher, "Patriarch" Filaret, claims that he is a dishonest person who has no conscience. But with each new performance, with each new interview, we understand that the lie that Dumenko says is not just a lie, but the most real satanic craftiness. This is exactly the evil which we ask God to deliver us from in the Lord’s Prayer.

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