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Moscow Patriarchate slams Ukrainian Catholic 'Uniates' for "meddling" in politics and taking a pro-West stance

by Nina Achmatova
3/26/2014
http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Moscow-Patriarchate-slams-Ukrainian-Catholic-'Uniates'-for-meddling-in-politics-and-taking-a-pro-West-stance-30662.html

Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Department for External Church Relations, slams Catholic Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv for his positions. He also says he asked the Holy See for explanations. Diplomacy is faltering over the religious divisions.


Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Moscow Patriarchate strongly condemned the Greek-Catholic (Uniate) Church in Ukraine for "meddling" in politics, in the current crisis in the country. For its part, Russia continues to accuse the Ukraine of "religious intolerance," a charge the latter sharply rejects, noting instead how all religious denominations have come together to oppose violence and express support for Europe.

For Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, and his predecessor, Lubomyr Husar, took a "very clear position from the beginning of the civil conflict, which grew unfortunately into an armed bloody conflict".

In his view, the Uniates not only advocated integration with Europe, "but even called for Western countries to intervene more decisively in the situation in Ukraine."

Speaking on The Church and the world, a programme on the Russia-24 TV channel, Hilarion also noted that "Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk and [. . .] Filaret (Denisenko) even went to the United States, [. . .] to the State Department and asked for US intervention in Ukrainian affairs."

Excommunicated by the Moscow Patriarchate, Filaret is the head of the breakaway Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate.

In early February, Archbishop Shevchuk spoke before the US Congress. On that occasion, he said that the Ukraine situation transcended politics and asked for US mediation to resolve the crisis.

Conversely, for Hilarion, the Greek-Catholic Church is a major obstacle in relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Holy See.

The Orthodox, he said, have always perceived the Uniates in a very negative light, "as a special project by the Catholic Church," because "they dress like Orthodox, follow Orthodox rituals, but are in fact Catholic," which gives them and the Vatican a certain leeway.

When he asked a Catholic official for an explanation about the show of support from the Greek-Catholic Church for the breakaway Orthodox Church, the only answer Hilarion said he got was "We do not control them."

For his part, Shevchuk, who recently met with Pope Francis, bemoans the disappearances of people in Ukraine, who were "abducted and tortured" by the Berkut, the special police in the government of ousted president Yanukovych.

Moscow and Kyiv also continue to trade barbs over religion. The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture has rejected Russian accusations of "religious intolerance" with regards to alleged threats and seizure of parishes that are under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine.

According to the ministry's Religious Affairs Department, no such actions have taken place. On the contrary, during protests at Maiden (Independence) Square, "all the churches, including the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," came out to defend the people and show their support for a pro-European orientation in the country's development.

Likewise, Kyiv has denied claims by the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian government that the country is in a civil war.

Instead, Russia continues to be under diplomatic pressure to avoid a wider Ukrainian crisis, following its annexation of the Crimea.

In fact, US President Barack Obama is in Brussels for a summit with EU leaders Barroso and Van Rompuy to discuss possible new sanctions.

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This historical back and forth, coming from both Moscow and yes, Rome , was a significant factor in causing at least a third of Rusyn immigrants to the United states to entirely abandon Eastern Christianity during the twentieth century.

My grandfather's generation was frustrated and disheartened; hence the slogan, " Ani do Rim, ani do Moskvi! (neither to Rome nor to Moscow!)"

Moscow brings unclean hands to the debate by virtue of Orthodoxy' s post world war two complicity in the communist inspired attempt to liquidate the Greek Catholic faith and force state managed Orthodoxy on the people. Why would they think it would work in 2014 any more than in 1950?

History does repeat itself.

Beware, Protestant missionaries are salivating over Eastern Christianity's penchant to self destruct. They already have a strong foothold in Ukraine.

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The censorship on Byzantine Forum is alive and well.

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I'm not sure what Pavloosh's comment about censorship refers to. anyone care to enlighten me?

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Bless, Otche Nastoiatele!

Pavloosh's earlier, rather vociferous and vituperant, post in response to the article above, was deleted.

Personally, I think the article's comments are spot on. You have to watch out for those Uniates and their jesuitical ways, you know. They can be a bad lot, that!

There's no telling what they will be up to next, those troublemakers! grin

Alex

Last edited by Orthodox Catholic; 03/26/14 04:20 PM.
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If His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion wants to understand Patriarch Sviatoslav's words and actions, why not ask His Beatitude directly?

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Quote
The censorship on Byzantine Forum is alive and well.


Christ is in our midst!!

I'm one of the mods on this section and I'm at a loss. What are you referring to?

Bob
Moderator

I found the post. First of all, we refer to all clergy on this forum by their titles. His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion deserves the respect of his office as a bishop, regardless of his political views or their expression and regardless whether we agree with him or not.

Come on, it's Great Lent.

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me a spirit that causes me to eat the flesh of my brothers even as I fast from fleshmeats. AMEN.

Last edited by theophan; 03/26/14 06:42 PM.
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Dear Bob and Theophan:
Pavloosh posted a statement which apparently was too sensitive an issue for fear that it would offend the Russkys, so it was deleted. It pertained to Hilarion's attack on Patriarch Sviatoslav.
Why are we so protective of the misdeeds of the Russian Orthodox Church? Personally I think it's pathetic.
Sincerely,
Pavloosh
P.S. Now all hades will break loose, just watch.

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We refer to clergy on this forum by their titles, please. His Eminence is addressed as Metropolitan Hilarion, just as His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the UGCC patriarch is addressed by his title. I object to outright disrespect of any member of the clergy. In addition, there is IMHO just plain too much disrespect shown to others in general today.

Let's take a good examination of conscience tonight and look deep inside to see how we can eradicate this fault in ourselves this Great Lent.

I'll begin with me.

Bob

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The "Russky's" theoretically are fellow Christians, not matter how un Christian they may seem to be acting. I know, easy for me to say.

The use of the word "slams" seems a little dramatic to me, and a little editorial for an article that I think purports to be impartial. Of course the news on both sides is slanted the way the news outlets think their audiences want to hear the news.

Most of what Metropolitan Hilarion is saying seems kind of like the same old, same old to me. One part

"Speaking on The Church and the world, a programme on the Russia-24 TV channel, Hilarion also noted that "Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk and [. . .] Filaret (Denisenko) even went to the United States, [. . .] to the State Department and asked for US intervention in Ukrainian affairs."

if that's true I think that is actually a little troubling.

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But perhaps it's not troubling that Russian Orthodox clergy are members of the Russian Parliament.

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Dear AMM,

They asked for mediation of the conflict by the U.S. and the EU which is quite different from "intervention."

It was Yanukovych who, according to reports, asked Russia to intervene in Ukraine militarily and Russia is showing itself only too willing to do that.

That is what is troubling to me - and very many others like me (or unlike me, who really wants to be like me anyway?).

Frankly, I don't see what would be wrong if the Ukrainian Orthodox who are condemned as "uncanonical" or who, as members of the UOC-MP, feel no longer "at home" there ... come into union with the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church?

Is world Orthodoxy any kind of friend, at any level, to Ukrainians who want national independence and their own Particular Church? Even if all Ukrainians got together into one Orthodox Church - who would ever recognize it as canonical?

To be "canonical" for Ukrainians in Orthodoxy has come to mean, increasingly, to be under the Moscow Patriarchate and its "Russky Mir" ideology which, for Ukrainians, means that Moscow is spiritually, culturally and in every which way dominant over them. Better Rome than that, I say.

Let's respect the Moscow Patriarchate and its clergy/bishops always - but from far away, as one UOC-MP priest texted me recently. I've been speaking via email and text to Orthodox Ukrainians of the Moscow Patriarchate, of the "uncanonical Filaretites" and of the EP - no one has yet disagreed with me on this and, please believe me, that is the first time ever that has happened in my experience.

Patriarch Sviatoslav and the UGCC clergy/bishops have won the admiration of not only EC Ukrainians, but also of many Orthodox Ukrainians of all sorts of jurisdictions, including the UOC-MP. That is something that is not mentioned by the ROC Archbishop above. At least one UOC-MP hierarch, a Ukrainian, has come out in support of the Maydan movement and he has been severely criticized by the . . . Russians . . .

The UOC-MP and its parent Church, the MP were simply on the wrong side of this conflict as far as Ukrainians are concerned and they have badly compromised themselves and they know it. They are scrambling for a way out now and aren't finding it.

Also, Archbishop Aleksandr (Drabenko) the secretary of His Beatitude Met. Volodymyr, is now in the MP's "bad books" because he actually had the audacity, as a UOC-MP hierarch, to go directly to the EP in Constantinople, ostensibly to begin some sort of negotiations for who knows what . . .

He was also doing things like developing a Ukrainian-language Orthodox parish in Kyiv, translating the liturgical books of the UOC-MP into Ukrainian, as opposed to the Russified Slavonic, and some other things that have really riled the MP (he actually dared to serve panakhydas for the repose of the soul of Hetman Ivan Mazepa, the Ukrainian kozak leader who opposed Peter I and was excommunicated by the ROC - Patriarch St Tikhon of Moscow, however, was actually very amenable to lifting that excommunication, and in one letter written to Ukrainian Orthodox in Kyiv, seems to indicate that he regarded the anathema to already have no effect . . . And because Ukrainian Orthodox under the omophorion of the Moscow Patriarch could not serve panakhydas for Mazepa, they would ask Ukrainian Catholic priests to serve them - ecumenism from the ground up!

Archbishop Aleksandr's career with the UOC-MP is effectively over, as a result, according to reports.

He definitely has a brilliant career elsewhere, although exactly where isn't clear yet.

Alex

Last edited by Orthodox Catholic; 03/26/14 09:38 PM.
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The history of Galicia and Ruthenia is more complex that a simplistic reduction to Greek Catholic/Orthodox, Hitler/Stalin, Russia/Ukraine. For those attempting to opine who have no ethnic ties to the area, a good starting point, while not definitive, would be to read the full wikipedia article entitled "History of Galicia" found at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Galicia_(Eastern_Europe).

It underscores the complex and centuries old roots of the current events, almost Kabuki-like in their predictability, now playing out.

As I read that article and recall the stories and oral histories of my youth, I thank God my grandparents voted with their feet and left that economically deprived and chaotic part of Europe before the first war. Tribalism and enmity were the rule and the bitter fruits of history fester yet across the Carpathians through Lviv and Uzhorod and east towards Kiev and at the same time other interest gaze westward towards the heartland of Ukraine.

Lord, have mercy. Hospodi pomiluj.

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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Is world Orthodoxy any kind of friend, at any level, to Ukrainians who want national independence and their own Particular Church? Even if all Ukrainians got together into one Orthodox Church - who would ever recognize it as canonical?


I am just a single layperson with no special insight or knowledge. My guess is an abrupt recognition of a completely autocephalous Ukrainian church has the potential to set off a wider schism. The wikipedia article on Bulgaria says they were considered in schism for something like 75 years before being recognized. I guess it will take some time. Maybe if the two Ukrainian Orthodox Churches united first that would create some momentum. I really do not know what keeps them apart.

Your other question, why not become Catholic? I guess the first question would be what would be the practical benefit, just from a purely objective standpoint. Second, I think you would have to wonder what they truly believe if a political and national crisis all of the sudden makes them realize they are ready to re-align their theological beliefs. One clear affect would be to confirm the worst beliefs about the intentions of the Catholic Church among Orthodox hardliners and probably make their opinion the dominant one within the church. It would probably open a significant East-West rift. I think it would also harken back to the old model of picking off individual churches for reunion in lieu of trying to address complete reconciliation. Those are my guesses.

Last edited by AMM; 03/26/14 10:14 PM.
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Dear AMM,

You've put your finger right on it re: theology.

Other than the issue of Catholic Pope vs Orthodox Patriarch (of whatever kind), what would be any sort of theological difference in that consideration that would be of any real meaning to most involved?

Thanks to the "Orthodox in communion with Rome" movement as well as other things - not very much, if at all.

Even the Union of Brest involving the Ruthenian Orthodox bishops had as its ultimate focus considerations that subsumed theological issues (which they believed were looked after by the conclusions of the Council of Florence).

The issue of the future united Church of Ukraine will not be finalized on the differences, theological or otherwise, between Eastern Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

It will have to do with more ecclesial/cultural and even political (in the widest possible sense) paradigms.

I, for one, see the best of all worlds for the resolution of this in . . . the UGCC which is not the perfect situation, but probably the best beginning yet.

Alex

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