KDAiS rector to Fanar head: You’re responsible for OCU’s violence against UOC
Archbishop Sylvester addressed an open letter to the head of the Phanar, Patriarch Bartholomew.
The rector of the Kyiv Theological Academy and Seminary, Archbishop Sylvester, addressed an open letter to the head of the Phanar, where he indicated that the OCU he created was taking an active part in the destruction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The letter was published on the KDAiS website.
“Unfortunately, today we see how one of the basic values of the democratic world, the right to freedom of conscience and religious beliefs, is openly violated in Ukraine. Obviously, since the end of 2022, the Ukrainian state has taken a course towards the gradual destruction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” the hierarch of the UOC wrote to the head of the Phanar and stressed that “the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, created by the Tomos of Your Holiness in January 2019, also takes an active part in the violence directed against thousands of UOC communities and millions of UOC believers.”
Archbishop Sylvester gave a number of examples of the participation of representatives of the OCU in the seizure and even destruction of the UOC churches in Ivano-Frankivsk, Khmelnytsky, Lviv and other places.
“We can see an open disregard not only for legal norms and democratic values, but also for Christian morality,” the bishop wrote. “I must say frankly: the Tomos of Autocephaly issued by Your Holiness to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine did not bring religious peace to Ukraine, but only provoked a new wave of confrontation and violence. Unfortunately, having received the Tomos, the hierarchs of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine interpreted it as a sanction for tough actions against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This violence began already in 2019. But now, in the conditions of war, it is reaching its climax.”
The hierarch stated that such actions of Patriarch Bartholomew’s wards rejected the very opportunity to establish mutual understanding between the UOC and the OCU for many years: “Violence against the communities of our Church, the accomplice (and sometimes inspirer) of which are the bishops and priests of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, has created a deep gulf between us, which is unlikely to be overcome in the near future.”
“Nothing good can be built on violence and tears. Today we see that in many Ukrainian cities and villages, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, with the help of local authorities, has seized the temples of our Church, but these churches are empty. At the same time, the communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church continue, with humility and obedience to the will of God, to celebrate services in various private facilities,” the bishop of the UOC emphasized.
He expressed confidence that the head of Phanar, “as an educated theologian and as a church hierarch,” understands that repressions against the UOC cannot have “any justification from the point of view of Christian morality.”
The rector of the KDAiS recalled that the OCU was created with the participation of the head of Phanar, and therefore Patriarch Bartholomew is responsible for the actions of its representatives.
“In this difficult time for the UOC, I call on Your Holiness to raise your voice in defense of truth and goodness. Of course, you can ignore what is happening with Orthodox Christians in Ukraine. But the violence committed today against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, unfortunately, may be forever associated with your name in historical memory,” Archbishop Sylvester concluded the letter and said that he was sending copies of this letter to all Local Churches.
Earlier, the UOJ reported that the Primate of the Polish Church supported the Kyiv Theological Schools.