Boyarka raider turns out a friend of Greek primates: what does this mean?

14 May 2023 11:05
2029
A raider from Boyarka is on a short footing with the primates and hierarchs of the Churches that recognized the OCU. Photo: UOJ A raider from Boyarka is on a short footing with the primates and hierarchs of the Churches that recognized the OCU. Photo: UOJ

During the raid in Boyarka, we saw grinders, crowbars, tear gas, violence. The organizer of this banditry is a cleric who is on friendly terms with the Greek primates.

On May 6, 2023, in Boyarka near Kyiv, supporters of the OCU forcibly took the St. Michael Church of the UOC. Tear gas was once again used, the laity and the priest were beaten, and matushka was seriously injured. This banditry was led by "priest" Vasyl Lilo, well-known in the narrow circles of the OCU. Boyarka is the Kyiv region, i.e. the zone of action of the "Metropolitan of Kyiv" Epifaniy Dumenko. Lilo’s raid was therefore agreed with him.

About broken windows and OCU

Probably, each of us is familiar with the “broken window effect”: if a window is broken in a house and not repaired immediately, then the whole house will be broken and destroyed very soon. This effect is manifested not only in relation to glass and the house, but also in a more comprehensive sense – if evil is not halted at once, it will grow ad infinitum. We observe something similar in relation to the OCU. The malice of representatives of this structure grows in direct proportion to the permissiveness – the ambience, in which UOC temples are raided.

At the moment, it can be stated with regret that violence and hatred is becoming a hallmark and feature of the OCU. And if its supporters are not stopped in time, then, as in the case of a broken window, the whole house may be destroyed. In our case, the entire Ukrainian society. However, the Ukrainian authorities obviously do not intend to stop them, which means that violence against the UOC will only grow.

Surprising – nearby?

Previously, at the dawn of the emergence of the UOC-KP, the news about the forcible seizure of UOC temples, notably with the use of a grinder, caused not even surprise but shock. Today we are no longer surprised when representatives of the OCU come to Orthodox churches with crowbars, sledgehammers, battering rams and grinders. The Orthodox Christians of Ukraine are accustomed, unfortunately, to this routine. Luckily, they are not yet accustomed to tear gas and severe beatings of the laity and the clergy. Yet, the seizures of the Ivano-Frankivsk cathedral and the UOC church in Boyarka show that Dumenko’s supporters have tear or nerve gas canisters as part of the church raider’s standard toolkit.

Also, the Ukrainian people are gradually accustomed to the fact that violence can be used against believers and clergy of the UOC. The beating of Bishop Nikita in Chernivtsi and the beating of a priest and his wife in Boyarka are vivid proof to this.

Another thing is somewhat surprising – the actions of the raiders in Boyarka were led by the "priest" of the OCU Vasyl Lilo. Tell me, why be surprised if his colleagues actively participate in rallies near the Lavra or engage in church looting in Western Ukraine? But the thing is that Lilo is not an ordinary member of the OCU, but one of its prominent functionaries.

He is a close friend of "Protodeacon" Vasyl Didora and "Bishop" Yevstraty Zoria. While still in the UOC-KP, Lilo traveled abroad with them, for example, to Australia.

Then, when his friends betrayed Denisenko, Lilo defected to Dumenko together with his “travel companions” and continued to travel abroad as part of official international delegations. Here is a photo of Vasyl Lilo with Patriarch Bartholomew on the Phanar.

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Here is a photo of Vasyl Lilo with the head of the Phanar Archdiocese in the USA, Elpidophoros.

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Lilo, as part of the official delegation of the OCU, talks with the head of the Cypriot Church, Archbishop Georgios.

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Here is Lilo's communication with the Alexandrian Patriarch Theodoros.

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Here Vasyl Lilo serves together with the primate of the Greek Church Abp. Ieronymos.

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He often "concelebrates" with Dumenko, takes part in some kind of "synodal" committees and meetings. And right before the raider seizure of the temple in Boyarka, Lilo visited Mount Athos, where he had a very nice conversation with the abbots of those monasteries that do not consider Dumenko a layman. What does it mean? At least three things:

  1.  Lilo doesn't act on his own. Being a person particularly close to the top of the OCU, he certainly coordinates his actions with Epifaniy.
  2. Lilo feels impunity. He is sure that Dumenko is behind him, which means power. Therefore, there are no legal consequences for him and there will not be.
  3. But most importantly, all those hierarchs of Phanar, Hellas, Cyprus and Alexandria who serve with him, communicate with him and take him as a priest, rather than a church marauder and bandit, are morally responsible for Lilo's raiding.

Indeed, if Lilo came to Athos or Istanbul, and the latter pointed him to the door, saying that they did not want to communicate with the persecutors of the Church (after all, for those who recognized the OCU, Metropolitan Onuphry and the UOC did not cease to exist), then one could say that some Athonites and Phanariotes do not support the actions of the Ukrainian schismatics. But no one does anything like this. Instead, they hug, concelebrate and take pictures with him, thereby showing support for all his actions.

Lilo and everyone else

The fact is that violence, arrogance and addictive conduct have been cultivated in the OCU for a long time, and Lilo did have someone as a “role model”.

For example, in 2017, the "priest" of the then UOC-KP, Alexander Dediukhin, said that "after our prayer for peace in St. Petersburg, the metro exploded." According to him, "to forgive the aggressor means to send 12 grams of love to his vital organs." He called the believers of the UOC “Moscow ghouls”, and it was this "priest" who was awarded a pectoral cross by the head of Phanar, after which, returning to Ukraine, the “cross-bearer” told a cynical joke about “Our Father” prayer.

One could say that Dediukhin is a small prawn and his behavior does not say anything about the position of the leadership of the OCU. However, it's not so.

For example, the former Metropolitan of the UOC, Oleksandr Drabynko, personally initiated, arranged and directed the “transitions” of the UOC churches to the OCU in the Kyiv region. Moreover, Drabinko's "activists" came to believers with firearms, not only with angle grinders.

But Drabinko is not the head of the OCU, but only one of the middle-level functionaries of this structure. What about Epifaniy Dumenko?

"Pastoral" example

As a "shepherd" for his flock, Dumenko sets an excellent example. Instead of stopping the aggression of his wards, he only encourages them in every possible way. Epifaniy calls the believers of the UOC "parasites" and collaborators. But the most important thing is not even words. By his actions, he makes it clear to the members of his structure that he fully supports their forceful actions against the believers of the UOC.

For example, he awarded the mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk city, Ruslan Martsynkiv, with a medal "For sacrifice and love for Ukraine." Recall that Martsynkiv directly supervised the forceful seizure of the cathedral of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Ivano-Frankivsk, during which nerve gas was used. This means that the medal is a clear and unambiguous “fellows, you are on the right path, keep up 'good' work” affirmation.

***

Summing up, we can say that the actions of Vasyl Lilo in Boyarka are not an exception, but a behavior that has already become common in the OCU. Lilo is only the tip of the iceberg, most of which is hidden in the minds and heads of those who lead the OCU.

At the same time, the responsibility lies not only with Dumenko, Zoria, Drabinko and others, but also with all those who support and recognize them as legitimate bishops. On the conscience of the Phanar and the Athonites, Greeks, Cypriots and Alexandrians are the tears and trials of those believers who have lost their temples and have to pray in the open air or in private facilities. The usual silence about the situation in which the UOC ended up is criminal, and joyful meetings with those who create this situation are a crime.

Of course, I want to believe that the conscience of the Phanariots and “their retinue” will wake up, that they will raise their voice and tell Epifaniy Dumenko that he cannot seize and mutilate churches. However, given the "broken window effect", words “abandon hope all ye who enter here” as a response to numerous appeals of the UOC faithful on the pat of their offenders come to my mind more often.

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