The visit of both His Holiness Patriarch Filaret (UOC-KP) and His Holiness Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Patriarch of the Ukrainian Catholic Greek Church, as the heads of their respective churches in Ukraine, was considered to be a joyous event, which ePOSHTA had covered in a previous issue. "Камо грядеш, діаспорна православна церкво?" http://www.eposhta.com/newsmagazine/ePOSHTA_120428_CanadaUS.html#ed31
Patriarch Filaret at the monument fro UPA in St. Vlolodymyr cemetary, Oakville (near Toronto), Canada
(Photo: Ihor Prociuk)
As mentioned previously, Patriarch Filaret’s visit has opened a cache of problems in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church beyond the borders of Ukraine itself, which have been accumulating during the years since Ukraine’s declaration of independence. What has recently come to light, is proof that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, whether consciously or not, is supporting Moscow in its attempts to regain power over all the Orthodox churches in Ukraine. By being united with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its leader, His Holiness Bartholomew, they are tightening the noose around the UOC of the Kyiv Patriarchate and handing it right into the hands of not only the Moscow Patriarchate but into the hands of Russia’s current government. Their objective, as always, has been the complete destruction of the Ukrainian nation and its subservient return to the powers of Moscow.
Let us not forget, that the hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate has always served the interests of the Kremlin. As an instrument of the former Soviet government, the MP they supported the governments mandate to physically, mentally and emotionally destroy the peoples under their domain: through continuous repression, deportations, murders, the creation of the Holodomor famine, the wiping out of national memory, etc. It should be noted that each of the Moscow patriarchs was at the service of Russia’s intelligence services. In this context, the late Patriarch Alexei was no exception and likewise the present Patriarch Kirill.
The post World War II generation, born beyond the borders of Ukraine, carry with them an unprecedented patriotism for the homeland of their forefathers. The relatively young bishops who today head the UOC abroad could not be uninformed about the Moscow patriarchs’ black coin. In connection with the scandal that has arisen within the diaspora Orthodoxy, a seditious thought creeps in: is it possible that all these anti-Ukrainian tumultuous years are being managed by Moscow’s agents, who have successfully infiltrated the ranks of the highest church notables and who skillfully manipulate each of them?
The following excerpt from correspondence between the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Aleksei, has awoken the Ukrainian Diaspora with a jolt. And not unlike bees in a hive where an invasive hand tries to remove the golden honey, they, too, are angry.
To understand all the underground currents between the not inclined to be supportive Constantinople to Orthodox Ukrainian Konstatynopolem and the hostile to them Moscow, an extract is provided from a unique correspondence between the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Alexei of Moscow. (Note that the current Patriarch Kirill is implementing a much tougher policy towards Ukraine and the Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate, than its predecessor Alexei.):
“of course to a certain extent we can comprehend the fears Your Beatitude and your Holy Synod have as to the consequences which the settlement of the Ukrainians in the Diaspora could eventually have had on the general situation in Ukraine, if proper care had not been taken.
In this regard we would like to assure you that the induction of the Ukrainian communities into the canonical order of the Orthodox Church by receiving them under the omophorion of the Ecumenical Patriarch will, we believe, finally prove to be beneficial for the relationship between the Most Holy Church of Russia and the faithful in Ukraine.
This is so because on the one hand those received were obligated to formally declare that they will not seek autocephaly of the Ukrainian church, or even a part of it, through known methods employed by the “autocephalists” who operate in every way possible.”
(Page 3 of a July 11, 1995 letter from Patriarch Bartholomew to Patriarch Alexei)
It should not be a surprise that the Ukrainian Orthodox community in Canada is buzzing like bees in a disturbedhive. Why was Patriarch Filaret of the UOC-KP welcomed with the highest honors in the churches of the the Greek Catholics of Toronto? With their orders why did the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Metropolitan Yuri forbade Orthodox believers to meet with the head of the UOC-KP, which has always opposed the assault of Moscow ‘batiushky’? It is these questions that were raised by the Orthodox community of St. Volodymyr (Toronto) at a meeting with the Metropolitan Orthodox Church of Canada Yuri (Kalishchuk). It must be said that there was no end to the accusations addressed to the senior hierarch. There were very many speakers, their demands were most categorical. Generally speaking, the position of those present was well-expressed by a member of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, Leonid Lishchyna: "For most members of the St. Vodocymyr Cathedral these orders (Patriarch Bartholomew and Metropolitan George) are unacceptable. This majority is convinced that our subordination to Constantinople should be anulled and that UOCC must return to the status that existed prior to 1990. Then our church was free and no one outside of Canada ordered whom we cannot welcome in our cathedral. "
St. Volodymyr Cathedral, Toronto Canada (Photo: Ihor Prociuk)
We can only forsee how events will develop further around the scandalous position of diaspora’s Orthodox Churc hierarchs. There are a few possible solutions. Firstly, a lion’s share of the diaspora UOC could secede and become independent or even enter into the fold of the UOC-KP. In this case the diaspora UOC will significantly lose its influence and become smaller. The second option (albeit most unrealistic), the UOCC’s position is accepted and everything settles down. And the third, in the short or longer term, the possible association with the UOC-KP and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Patriarchate in order to put Ukraine on a united spiritual path. There is more and more talk about this in Ukraine. Indirect evidence of this intent was the joint trip to Canada of Patriarch Filaret and Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk. (Note that the current repute of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has soared, resulting in its welling by formerly Orthodox of the Muscow Patriarchy, especially in Kyiv.) We believe that the Orthodox Church abroad will follow its brethren in Ukraine. In this case the hierarch of the diaspora UOC will have the opportunity to be left alone with their pro-Moscow sympathies, however, without their flock.
However, thre is still time for the hierarchs of the UOCC in the diaspora to listen to the voice of the faithful and to break the unnion with Constantinople to finally work on the strengthening of Ukraine, the nationally meaningful Ukrainian churches and the welfare of the Ukrainian people throughout the world.
This editorial first appeared in Ukrainian http://www.eposhta.com/newsmagazine/ePOSHTA_120527_CanadaUS.html#ed31