Voices from Russia

Monday, 18 February 2008

Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa said that Ukrainian Officials are Persecuting Advocates of Church Unity with Moscow

00 Ilya Repin. A Cossack of the Zaporozhean Sich. 1870s-90s

A Cossack of the Zaporozhean Sich

Ilya Repin

undated (1870s-90s?)


The Ukrainian government intends to detach the Ukrainian Orthodox Church/MP from the Moscow Patriarchate some time this year, and it’s pressuring both laymen and clerics, Metropolitan Agafangel Savvin of Odessa and Ismail stated. “Today, the Ukrainian government has set a goal to gain ‘autocephaly‘, to separate the canonical UOC/MP from the MP some time in 2008 at all costs”, he said in an interview with the magazine Russki Dom (Russian Home). Metropolitan Agafangel noted that earlier the Ukrainian state attempted to “force” a split within the canonical UOC/MP by establishing parallel “schismatic pseudo-churches”, while, today, believers face “an absolutely new scenario, unprecedented in its scale and impudence, where they attempt to impose an ‘acanonical autocephaly’ on the canonical UOC/MP”. According to Vladyki Agafangel, local officials were commanded to “lobby for autocephaly”.

“Bishops and clerics of the UOC/MP are being strongly pressured. State officials are using attractive promises, threats, and blackmail. I believe that the lynching of the most active advocates of church unity among both clergy and laymen is in the wings. They spare no effort to harass those public organisations that openly oppose this threat of a new schism”, the metropolitan said. He further said that the canonical Church is forced to “dialogue” with schismatics from the so-called “Kiev Patriarchate” and the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church”. {The first is a totally uncanonical body illegally set on the canonical territory of the MP under the deposed MP cleric Philaret Denisenko, a known thief and grafter. The second’s a totally heterodox group, since its bishops weren’t canonically and properly consecrated, hence their common name of samosvyatsy (self-consecrators). Both groups are known for their syncretistic and indifferentist concelebrations with Uniates.:editor} “In compliance with the holy canons, there can’t be any ‘union’ with the ‘Kiev Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’ or the ‘Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church’. The only thing that’s possible is for these schismatics is to join the canonical Church. The UOC/MP can’t agree to the conditions set by these schismatics and nationalistic politicos, and it won’t break its holy and God-willed union with the MP. Rather, the schismatics have to accept the teaching, the practise, and the church organisation of the Mother Church”, Metropolitan Agafangel said.

Editor’s Note:

My choice of an illustration for this article was quite deliberate. The Zaporozhean Sich was known for its unwavering support for Orthodoxy and its vehement opposition to the Polish-imposed Jesuit Unia. The use of such imagery by contemporary Uniates is thus not true to the facts, and it is an insult to the memory of the brave Orthodox warriors of the Sich, who opposed the Unia wherever they found it.


15 February 2008




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