Hierarchs and clergy from Local Orthodox Churches express their worry about the persecution of the Canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine
September 23, 2015. During the 8th Meeting of the Inter-Orthodox Network of Centres for Study of Religions and Destructive Movements in Otocec,( Slovenia), about: “Cults, Neo-Paganism, Secularisation: The Danger of Decay of the Orthodox Christian Ethos”, the participants expressed their discomfort and worry about the situation in Ukraine, as reports DECR of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Among the attendees was a delegation included Bishop Jonah of Obukhov, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s youth department; Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for church-society relations, Rev. George Maksimov, head of the Moscow Patriarchate mission department’s section on apologetic mission; clergy from a number of dioceses of the Russian Church; Prof. A. Dvorkin, president of the St. Irenaeus of Lyons Center for Religious Studies; Mr. B. Lukichev, assistant to the chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate department for cooperation with the armed forces and the law enforcement, as well as church experts.
There were hierarchs and clergy from most of the Local Orthodox Churches, among them Archbishop Irenaios of Crete (Patriarchate of Constantinople), Archbishop Makarios of Qatar (Patriarchate of Jerusalem), Metropolitan Porfirije of Zagreb-Ljubljana and Bishop David of Krusevo (Patriarchate of Serbia), Metropolitan Seraphim of Nevrokop (Patriarchate of Bulgaria), Bishop Christophoros of Carpathia (Church of Cyprus).
In his message of greetings, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine stated that: “The bloodiest persecutions against Christians were perpetrated by pagans and atheists. The substitution of God by nature, state (nation) or man is always fraught with the danger of losing moral guidelines, which sooner or later will lead to tragedy and loss of human lives. Recently, a danger to our Churches and flocks has come from neo-paganism. Extremist groups with man-hating views adopt the doctrine of these sects and then, in a thirst for historical revenge, they attack churches and clergy. Neo-paganism extols cruelty towards enemies and cultivates the right of revenge, expressed in the burning of our churches. Our task is to help people realize the fatality of these ideologies”.
The participants adopted unanimously the following statement concerning the situation in Ukraine: “We, representatives of Local Orthodox Churches, pray that the fratricidal war that has already taken thousands of lives may be stopped as soon as possible.
At the same time, we are concerned for the persecution to which the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church is subjected.
We believe it unacceptable and inadmissible that the Ukrainian mass media disseminate provocative stories about the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, aimed at discrimination on religious grounds, which results in cases of violence against the UOC clergy and laity, as well as acts of vandalism towards holy places. Thus, the tension in the Ukrainian society is growing even more.
The participants in the conference resolutely condemn the capture of Orthodox churches perpetrated by followers of the schismatic group ‘Kiev Patriarchate’.
We express support for His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine and all the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. We call the Ukrainian people, especially the parties of the conflict, to a speedy reconciliation and restoration of peace commanded to us by Christ”.