What the people of Ukraine are being turned into
Recently at the walls of the Lavra, bones were hung on a tree, followed by broken windows and doors in one of the Lavra buildings. All these are links of one chain.
In the evening of 25 November several strange people appeared near the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. One of them wore a military cap, the second looked like an animal trainer from a circus, with a dog in his hands. The one in the cap declared that he was mentally ill and even had a "certificate". This visit could have been ignored – how many sick and different "veliars" have we seen over the past year at the walls of our holy monastery?
However, after their visit near the Lavra there appeared bloody bones with pieces of meat, as well as a poster with an inscription insulting Metropolitan Onuphry. In addition, on the night from Saturday to Sunday, the 70th building of the monastery was vandalised – doors and windows were broken, the building was damaged. Therefore, we have the right to assert that the appearance of such "sick" near the Kyiv Lavra is not an accident but a trend that will only intensify with time.
Bones hanging near the walls of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. Photo: UOJ
Persecution against the UOC: to beat or to bash?
It is believed that the word "persecution" can be applied to the Church only if the persecutors shed the blood of believers. If the blood does not flow in rivers, there is no persecution. In this sense, the enemies of the Church claim that no one persecutes the UOC in Ukraine, that "you are not being killed".
Yes, so far they are not killed. But cases when a priest's throat is cut, jaw or nose is broken are already becoming commonplace. This is not surprising, if we remember the level of aggression that is spewed at the UOC from the TV screens, social networks and the Internet. Direct calls of "Quarter 95" for physical violence against priests bear fruit, and today in Ukraine raising a hand against a minister of God is not considered something shameful, unacceptable, and can be presented as an act of "heroism".
For example, Roman Hryshchuk, a "priest" of the OCU, recently stated that it is a "holy deed" to cut the lock on a UOC church. Just as the expulsion of a priest and the UOC congregation from this temple looks like a "holy deed" to him. And the worst thing is not only that Hryshchuk knows nothing about Christianity, does not know Christ and has nothing to do with Him, but also that his position is directed against the Church in general, and not against the UOC exclusively. In other words, the "blessing" to cut the lock, sooner or later will lead to the fact that the enemies of the Church will no longer break the doors, but will burn the temples. All of them. That is, including the temples of the OCU.
In other words, the pieces of meat and "veliars" near the Lavra are a clear manifestation of the spiritual state in which the Ukrainian people are. This is not an isolated incident that can be ignored, but a marker that shows the dreadful problems that we will have to face in the near future.
Persecution in the end times
A pogrom organised by activists in Building 70a of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. Photo: UOJ
Persecutions in this sense come in many forms. In ancient times, the torturers – Trajan, Diocletian, Decius and others – forced Christians to deny Christ, threatening them with bodily torture. Many did. But there were also those who preferred the death of the body to the death of the soul.
This is not the case today. We are forced to renounce our faith, Church and God by other methods - through humiliation, slander, insults, blasphemy. Through the media, the idea is carried out that it is bad and shameful to be a Christian of the canonical Church, that all representatives of the UOC are traitors and collaborators, and so on. And it is sometimes very difficult to stand in faith, not to betray one's Church, the children of which were grandfathers and great-grandfathers. Many people leave, unable to withstand the serious pressure from family, friends, and society. They leave, justifying themselves with inappropriate "patriotic" narratives (as if someone prevented them from being patriotic within the UOC) or inventing other reasons - from the Church Slavonic language to the calendar by which "Europe lives".
Those who remain (and such are the majority) know that today the persecutions will only intensify. Moreover, they will acquire such a character that it will be more difficult to remain faithful to God than in the days of Diocletian.
For example, the Venerable Seraphim of Vyrytsia wrote that "the true Church will always be persecuted, and it will be possible to be saved only through tribulation and illness. The persecutions will take the most sophisticated, unpredictable character... It will be terrible to live until these times".
According to Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov, the persecutors will be those who call themselves Christians: "The multiplied apostates, being called and appearing outwardly as Christians, will act against the servants of God and the violence of power, and slander, and malicious intrigues, and various deceptions, and persecutions fierce".
In turn, St. Theophanes the Hermit generally believed that all the "wicked intrigues" of the end times, the Christian appearance of persecutors and "various deceptions" of believing people will lead to the appearance of the Antichrist. He wrote: "Although the Christian name will be heard everywhere, and everywhere will be seen temples and ranks of the church, but all this is only the semblance, while inside is the true retreat. On this soil will be born Antichrist and will grow in the same spirit of semblance without substance."
Therefore, what is happening today with the UOC has only one goal – to defame the faith in God as much as possible, to ridicule the Church, to turn believers into marginalised people who can be humiliated, beaten and insulted.
It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God
There is no doubt that we live in times of lawlessness and apostasy (apostasy from faith in God). The malice against the Church is becoming so sophisticated that the enemy of the human race is acting brazenly, openly, without covering his pig snout.
Satanists, pagans, magicians and sacrilegious people, appearing in large numbers near the Lavra, are only the top layer of the cloaca into which the once Orthodox people of Ukraine are gradually being turned by those to whom the very existence of the Church does not allow them to live in peace.
Against this background, talk of legalising "esoteric services" no longer seems like a joke, and the pieces of meat hung near the Lavra are not only sacrilege. It is a direct challenge to God, a declaration of war against Him and His Church.
Who will lose in this war is clear. "I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning," said the Lord to His disciples (Luke 10:18). But it is just as clear that if we remain silent and do not protect our holy places from the blasphemers scattering bones in the heart of Ukrainian Orthodoxy, this war can touch us. And then, God forbid, we will all have to remember the words of Apostle Paul: "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!" (Hebrews 10:31).