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The UOC-MP is really only trying to hang on to its parishes in a situation that it is quickly losing.

Metropolitan Onuphrij has not repudiated his allegiance to the MP and a recent statement by a ROC Metropolitan affirmed that any such changes, in order for them to be canonical, may only come from the MP himself.

There are UOC-MP priests who have moved to the Ecumenical Patriarch by joining the Orthodox Church in Ukraine while others either try to hang onto their parishes (by attempting to blockade their parishioners who have announced their union with the OCU) by either refusing to open the church to them or else using parishioners (or parishioners from other areas who are brought in) to block entrance into the churches.

When UOC priests tell the majority and in many cases ALL of their parishioners who have joined the OCU that they are no longer with the MP, they are met with disbelief and are accused of chicanery etc.

Recently, the OCU has asked to have an abandoned church on the grounds of the Kyiv-Caves (Pechersk) Lavra given to it so it could begin services with its own monastics there. The MP is fighting this tooth and nail.

Metropolitan Onuphrij appears to have lost favour with the MP which is taking matters into its own hands by removing the Crimean Orthodox parishes from under his care and into the MP's direct camp. At least two other UOC-MP Eparchies have repudiated their allegiance to . . . Metropolitan Onuphrij and now say they are directly under the MP. UOC-MP parishes continue to move away from both the MP and Met. Onuphrij - 14 in the last week alone.

Interestingly, when confronted with the prospect of moving from the MP to the EP, some UOC-MP priests have said "We don't intend to change our faith."

Now, would someone please explain to me how leaving the Moscow Patriarchate (which is directly complicit in supporting Putin's Special Military Terrorist Operation in Ukraine) for the Ecumenical Patriarchate constitutes "changing one's faith?"

Do the MP and EP represent two separate Orthodox "faiths?"

By way of footnote, Metropolitan Onuphrij was once in the parliament of Ukraine along with representatives of all other religions in Ukraine during which time military medals were awarded to Ukrainian soldiers for courage and valor.

All those representatives, including Muslims and Buddhists, rose to their feet in respect except one person - Metropolitan Onuphrij. When asked by the press later why he didn't show respect to those soldiers, he replied "Because I don't show respect to killers...."

That was the beginning of the end for him. Currently, there are entire regional governments in Ukraine who are petitioning President Zelensky and his government to ban the UOC-MP in their immediate regions as "fifth column entities"

It is bad for the MP. And things are only getting worse for it. But it was the choice its patriarch made when he decided to be in Putin's pocket as his spiritual rubber stamp.

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"Now, would someone please explain to me how leaving the Moscow Patriarchate (which is directly complicit in supporting Putin's Special Military Terrorist Operation in Ukraine) for the Ecumenical Patriarchate constitutes "changing one's faith?"

Orthodox Catholic,
Here is my humble attempt at an explanation:

The Ecumenical Patriarchate represents Orthodox "Universality:"
Definition:
(the quality of involving or being shared by all people or things in the world)

The MP represents an Orthodoxy married to "Nationalism":
Definition
(identification with one's own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations.)

The " faith" that the MP refers to is "Caesaropapism"
Definition:
(Caesaropapism is the idea of combining the social and political power of secular government with religious power)......this idea has pretty much disappeared in the Western World.

By the way, I believe all great advances of civilization occured in periods of Universality, and all great set-backs in civilization occured in periods of extreme Nationalism............................. My humble opinion.

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Dear Hutsul,

My grandfather would have been 130 tomorrow on the old calendar feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, was a Boyko and they are, as you know, next door in the Carpathians to the Hutsuls! I have several pastoral letters to the Hutsuls written by the Venerable Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky in the Hutsul dialect which is quite different and interesting.

And my grandfather was ordained a priest by Sheptytsky and lived on farmland that belonged to the Sheptytsky estate.

Fr. John was one of 25 children (great grandfather Leo had two wives, both of whom had the same Christian name of "Magdalena"). But he was born with a deformity, bowl-legged and couldn't walk for the first seven years of his life.

An uncle visited Rome in those years and took some holy water from the spring of St Paul where he was beheaded. My great grandfather poured that water into a basin and, before the entire village, said that if his son John could walk by some miracle, he would consecrate him to the priesthood when he was of age.

He then dipped his young son into the water three times and put him on his feet. John then began to walk and the deformity was gone. The Veneratble Metropolitan Andrey actually sent an official report to Rome to notify the authorities there of this.

My grandfather actually wanted to become a lawyer, but his father told him that he had to become a priest. John did become a married priest with six children and served for seventy years.

I still have his Church Slavonic Horologion and also the jeweled pectoral cross he received from a Russian Orthodox bishop for building a church in the village he served. He never put it on, even when I tried to put it on him he simply said, "Just place it where it was before please._ It reminded him of his having become Orthodox when the Soviets came. I never saw how that was a "sin." When he died, I went to the funeral home and then my uncles shuffled a brown paper bag to me saying, "Your grandfather wanted you to have this . . ." It was the pectoral cross which I still have hanging up with my icons here as I write this.

Eternal memory to Father John!

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Orthodox Catholic,

Yes, Memory Eternal to your priest Grandfather! And praise to God for the miracle!

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. You are very fortunate to have these experiences as part of your family heritage and to have a connection to Venerable Andrew Sheptytsky.

I look forward to reading your posts on this forum. They are filled with current events, historical facts and scholarly interpretations - tempered with open- mindedness and respect. Most interestingly though, you manage to bring your comments to earth with your personal reflections. You tell of the miracle in such an earthy, folksy way.

Your memories about your Grandfather's cross are especially moving. It is obvious that this cross is far more than a keepsake to you. Respecting an object as a symbol, or metaphor, for larger ideas , is at the heart of icon veneration.

If you are interested, I could share some personal info. via a private message. Let me know through a PM. Either way, thanks.

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My dearest Hutsul Brother in Christ!

Please do PM me when you have a moment - I was unable to PM you for some reason.

Pryvit!

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Dear Orthodox Catholic,

I just realized that, being a "Junior Member", I do not have enough posts for the privilege of private messaging. I totally understand, and my apologies to the Forum for straying off topic.I am still learning the ropes.......this may be helpful to others.

"OC"........ here is a link that you might find interesting:

https://orthodoxartsjournal.org/the-byzantine-sculpture-of-michael-lucas/

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Christ is in our midst!!

Hutsul,

Your pm privileges have been activated.

Bob
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Indeed He is!

Bob, thank you......

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In my two trips to Ukraine, I stayed at the Lavra, the holiest place in Ukraine, as well as numerous monasteries in the East and South (including Crimea). This was prior to Euromaidan and was actually my third but I was not allowed to cross into Ukraine from Romania near Putna due to visa issues.

First if all, the non-Greek Orthodox Churches recognize His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry as the primate of Ukrainian Orthodoxy. The EP is not a Pope in any way, shape or form and interference in the Local Churches is something that they absolutely do not want. The Synodal vote of the UOC declared independence is largely recognized with Met. Onuphry only commemorating Pat. Kirill as the head of another Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Only the EP, Alexandria, Cyprus and Greece recognize the OCU as established by the EP. Here in the USA, this act caused a rupture in the Assembly of Canonical Bishops with the MP jurisdictions (Patriarchal Parishes and the ROCOR) breaking Communion with the EP jurisdictions: the Greek Archdiocese, the UOC of the USA in Bound Brook and the Carpatho-Rusyns in Johnstown. How strict this is pastorally; I do not know. The OCA took a neutral Eucharistic Communion stance while continuing to recognize Met. Onuphry. This is pretty much the same with the rest of the American ethnic jurisdictions.

The point here is that idea of the EP doing something as big as it did in Ukraine is pretty much a Catholic way of thinking. Do I hope and pray that things will all work and with a total end of the bloodshed in Ukraine, of course. Let us all pray that in Christ it may be so.

Just my ... Three Cents.

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There is an entire level of geopolitics in the situation involving the UOC-MP, which is an arm of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine, that is often either neglected or ignored in any discussion relating to the current situation in Ukraine with respect to Orthodoxy.

This goes back a few hundred years and it does involve Orthodox canonical law, to be sure.

The geopolitics have to do with how Church and State have cooperated with one another, especiallly within the Russian empire. This situation continues to exist today in Russia where the MP is little more than a department of the Russian government which gives a spiritual rubber stamp to what the state under Putin does to further its own, rather anti-Christian, goals and objectives.

The issue of authority within Orthodoxy is a convoluted one. It appears, at the outset, to define itself in terms of what the Catholic Church is not and that is always a bad way to do canonical law, just like it is a bad thing for Orthodoxy to define itself in terms of an antithesis to Catholicism.

This has lead to a kind of idealized, non-entity in terms of a nostalgia for a time when the Byzantine Emperor called together Ecumenical Councils as the ultimate authority for deciding matters of faith and discipline to a praxis involving, for example, the Moscow Patriarchate acting even more "papal" than the Vatican across a number of respects.

In the case of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, it was not simply the EP that reviewed the canonical history of Kyiv's Apostolic tradition being usurped by the Tsarist empire and came to the conclusion that Kyiv was and still is what it always has been with the right to ecclesial autocephaly. The people of Ukraine have evolved as such and as a Church to the point that they themselves wanted autocephaly and separation from the vice-grip of colonial Orthodox Russia.

For Ukrainians especially, the current war with its atrocities committed against them by "Orthodox Russia" has been an eye opener, once and for all. For them, there is nothing "Orthodox Christian" about Putin or his forces. He and they are rather "servants of Satan" as the Russian services to its New Martyrs and Confessors would have it and over a thousand formerly MP parishes have moved over to the OCU in the last six months with more to come.

Church and State are intertwined. I see that you use the oft-repeated "ethnic jurisdictions." In fact, that is an American construct which is, in fact, a false one. Even the OCA is little more than the "Russian Orthodox Church" in English transllation, something that became more than evident to me in conversations with OCA priests in the last ten years.

There is a moral crisis, moreover, within Orthodoxy today that my Orthodox friends simply hope will go away by itself. It won't, unfortunately. Orthodoxy in certain contexts has allowed itself to be the rubber stamp it has become.

For saying what I have said here, I know I will be chided by EC members voicing complaints by Orthodox members, essentially to tell me as an EC I have no right to say these things. But if so, rather than engage in open debate the choice will be made to shut it down, the issues here will not go away by themselves. The Church of Christ deserves better than that. It is not simply a beautiful series of services, colourful vestments and singing with gorgeous icons. There is more that is expected from us all by our Lord.

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