Christmas on 25/12, New Year sausage and Lavra for OCU: new Dumenko’s goofs
Sergei Dumenko reported the upcoming transition of the OCU to a new style, the cancellation of the Christmas fast for New Year, and why he expects to receive the Lavras.
On the eve of the New Year, the head of the OCU, Sergei Dumenko, gave a video interview to the Radio Svoboda resource, where he made a number of statements that clearly demonstrate the nature of Dumenko himself and his organization. We sort it out and analyze as usual.
Through Phanar, Dumenko has communion with those Churches where he was not recognized?
Sergei Dumenko: "We are not talking about the recognition of other Local Churches now, because through the Ecumenical Patriarch we have communion with the Universal Orthodoxy."
If Sergei Dumenko were subordinate to the Pope, he would be absolutely right, because he Pope is the head of the entire church structure and ensures the communion with the Catholic world. But in Orthodoxy, everything is arranged differently. The Orthodox Church is one in the world, but it consists of 15 equal Local Churches. The Church in Serbia, Poland, Russia, the United States and all the rest are parts to form together a single Universal Orthodox Church. Phanar is only a fragment of Orthodoxy enjoying no more rights than all the other Churches. For example, Serbian and Polish, whose primates directly say that Sergei Dumenko is an ordinary layman, not a bishop at all. Therefore, if Patriarch Bartholomew or someone else considers Epifaniy to be a metropolitan, this is only their private opinion, which Orthodoxy will still assess. And it does not at all mean that all Churches automatically entered into Eucharistic communion with this young man as a bishop.
Is there no fast in the "Old Calendar" Churches on New Year holidays?
Sergei Dumenko: "In some Local Orthodox Churches there is a tradition that on December 31 and January 1 the Church can mitigate the fast or even cancel it."
Currently, 10 out of 15 Local Churches live according to the New Julian calendar, which largely coincides with the Gregorian, secular one. They celebrate Christmas on December 25th. Accordingly, they no longer fast there on New Years. Five Local Churches live according to the Julian calendar, i.e. the old style, which is 13 days behind the new one. Accordingly, the celebration of Christmas in these Churches falls on January 7th by the new style. These Churches include: Russian, Jerusalem, Serbian, Georgian and Polish. Athos also adheres to the Julian calendar. And now the question arises – in which of the listed Churches is there the tradition of canceling fasting for the New Year, voiced by Sergei Dumenko?
We have not heard anything like this either from the primates or from the bishops. In other words, Dumenko just lied. What for? This becomes clear from the following thesis.
Until the OCU switches to a new style, fasting will be canceled there for the New Year
Sergei Dumenko: “The church can mitigate the fast or cancel it altogether in order to mitigate the fast over this period so that there is no violation until we switch to the New Julian calendar."
Here it becomes clear why Dumenko told a lie that there is a tradition of abolishing fasting on the New Year in the Churches that live according to the Julian calendar. This is said to somehow justify his populist statement. Of course, in the canonical Church, no one cancels the Nativity Fast for the sake of the New Year's feast. This is absurd. But this is quite logical for the OCU.
After all, it's no secret that the New Year for Ukrainians is one of the most beloved holidays, which is usually celebrated with vodka, popular salads, jellied meat and other “New Year's” traditional dishes. Therefore, for Orthodox Christians, the New Year is a "bottle neck" that confronts a person with a choice: to relax and celebrate the holiday "like everyone else" or to perform a small feat, to prove to Christ one’s love and loyalty. Dumenko believes that on the most severe days before the arrival of the Savior in the world, fasting can be canceled. Sausage and “Russian salad” are more important, they say.
If you don't go to church, transfer the UOC community to the OCU
One of Dumenko's favorite narratives is about supposedly voluntary transitions from the UOC to the OCU. For three years, he has made dozens of reports about this, the absurdity of which is obvious to everyone. And now he said that though there are few transfers to the OCU now, it allegedly wins all of the court cases on transfers: “The situation with the transitions has worsened lately. Although we win almost 100% all litigations initiated by the Moscow Patriarchate, they try to challenge it."
Of course this is a lie. Literally on the eve of the interview, on December 15, the Kyiv District Administrative Court canceled the illegal re-registration of the UOC communities in the OCU, carried out by the Vinnytsia Regional State Administration in several villages of the Mohilev-Podilsky region. Moreover, in, Dumenko was caught in the same lie by the Legal Department of the UOC about the won court cases before, for example, in the summer of 2021.
But in this interview, Dumenko went even further in his lies about the transitions to the OCU. The journalist read out to him a question from a viewer from the city of Berislav, where he asks which church he should go to, if his city has only the UOC and Uniates: “What church to go to when we have two UOC of the Russian Patriarchate and one Greek Catholic?”
The question itself suggests that this person does not go to church at all and is not a member of any community. What does Dumenko answer to him? He tells him to go to the temple of the UOC and transfer it to the OCU: “You need to prepare and to do everything that depends on the community in order to move in the direction of the transition.”
These words of Epifaniy reflect the entire aggressive ideology of the OCU: it doesn't matter whether you go to church or not, pray or not, whether you are Orthodox or not. Your task is to take a temple away from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This perspective, in turn, smoothly takes us to the issue of the Lavra’s jurisdiction.
Dumenko sees himself as the governor of the Lavra?
Sergei Dumenko: “Lavras are the property of the Ukrainian people. They are at the disposal of the state. The authorities will take an appropriate decision and this (Lavra – Ed.) will belong to the Ukrainian Church. Everything that is in Ukraine will belong to the Ukrainian Church. We endure the current situation for the time being."
What are the Lavras? These are the shrines of our people, where ascetics lived, who communicated with God during their lifetime. These are the Monks of the Caves, whose bodies lie incorrupt in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. Let us remember who the Lavra’s governors were: Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves, the Monk Ignatius of the Caves, Saint Theoctist of Chernigov, Saint Peter Mogila and many others glorified by the Church. People covered hundreds of kilometers to take some spiritual advice from them, we turn to them with prayer even now. Dumenko wants to be on a par with them. How appropriate is this?
Let's remember his earlier interview with another Western resource, BBC: “As they say, the Spirit works where He is to work, where He wills. There is even a saying: "The Spirit breathes where He wills."
At this point a Christian cannot but ask: are these words really a saying? "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit" (John 3:8).
Look at this man who has a Doctor of Divinity degree. How painfully he recalls the words of Christ and then confidently calls them a saying. It is very symbolic that the Savior says these words to their Pharisee Nicodemus, explaining: "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again."
What is the point for a Christian from the canonical Church to go to the organization led by Sergei Dumenko? What can a person who does not know the Gospel, who abolishes fasting for the sake of a feast, who lies, calls to take away temples from Christians, teach one? Why does he need shrines, why does he need Lavra? Will such a person help a Christian see the Kingdom of God? Let everyone answer for themselves.