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The Ukrainian schismatic church is in dire need of “priests,” given how many parishes its adherents have been seizing from the canonical Church and its lack of spiritually-theologically educated men. Thus, “Bishop” Paisy of Zhytomyr-Ovruch announced that all interested students and graduates of spiritual institutions are invited to become priests, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists. The call is open to all who have any level of spiritual education, and for those who are not fully prepared, courses will be provided. “With my blessing, the diocesan administration will have courses for those who wish to take holy orders,” the schismatic hierarch writes. “According to the canons, male persons who have reached the age of maturity, who are in their first marriage, and have no canonical obstacles, can enter holy orders.” “Bp.” Paisy also notes that once the new priests finish the courses provided by the diocese, it will be mandatory to complete studies at a higher theological institution. Another hierarch of the schismatic-nationalist church, “Metropolitan” Daniel of Chernivtsi and Bukovina, made the same call, entreating even those without any spiritual education to “shoulder the burden of the priesthood,” explaining that they will be educated later. “Met.” Daniel, who rehashes the blatant lie that all three branches of Ukrainian Orthodoxy united in December, asks for understanding with the “temporary shortage of clergy,” as the faithful in his diocese had been intimidated by Moscow for many years. http://orthochristian.com/119883.html?fbclid=IwAR2KhA4RhK7xXFL78nKSw1aYci7bbOP6PHi0OKc99FeW0-VPoL_4kF0LTLY
According to an order from Ukrainian Minister of Culture Evgeny Nischuk, the Uniates will be allowed to serve the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of St. Sophia, one of the most ancient Orthodox churches in the city, on the feast of the Annunciation on March 25/April 7. The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics Svyatoslav Shevchuk announced the upcoming service during a service on February 17. As has been stated before, the common goal of the schismatic church and the Uniates is to create a single Kiev Patriarchate that will be recognized by both Rome and Constantinople. And on January 17, Shevchuk stressed his belief that no one church can lay claim to St. Sophia’s, but that it is “a meeting place for all descendants of the St. Sophia Church of Kiev.” The church currently belongs to the Ukrainian government. However, not everyone is happy with these plans. Philaret Denisenko, the “Patriarch” of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) and “Honorary Patriarch” of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” the ideological leader of the Ukrainian schismatic-nationalist movement, is concerned about how Ukrainian Orthodox will react, and, resorting to his typical Russophobia, about the possibility of provocations from the Kremlin. In an address to Shevchuk published on the KP website, Denisenko asked him not to serve in St. Sophia’s because “it’s like if one of the Orthodox primates celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of the Holy Apostle Peter in Rome.” The Ministry of Culture seems to have waivered in its decision following the statement by the ideological schismatic leader. In his message, Philaret calls the Uniate plans to celebrate Annunciation in the Orthodox cathedral “unusual,” because, he says, the Ukrainian Uniates have never served there, and he recalled that the enthronement of “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, the primate of the schismatic church, was recently held there. Uniates contend, however, that St. Sophia’s was transferred to them for a time beginning in 1596. According to Orthodox ecclesiology and canons, it is forbidden for non-Orthodox to serve at an Orthodox altar, though Denisenko focuses only the possibility of negative reactions. He stresses that if the Uniates serve there, “it will cause resistance from Orthodox Ukrainians… At a time when there is a war for the independence and integrity of Ukraine in the eastern part of our country, we are called to testify and maintain peace and unity in society.” Moreover, the “Patriarch” fears, as he often does, how the Kremlin will respond: “There is a danger that this situation can be used by Russia to carry out provocations to harm the Ukrainian people.” Thus, Philaret urges Shevchuk to give up the idea of serving in St. Sophia’s and expresses hope that the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” and the Uniates will continue to develop good relations. Interestingly, following the publication of Denisenko’s letter, the Ministry of Culture posted a message on Saturday that the Uniates were not allowed to serve in St. Sophia’s, as that would harm the great UNESCO monument, though the message was soon removed, reports the Ukrainian site Strana, with a screenshot of the removed message. Many Ukrainian leaders, including the Minister of Culture himself, and the Parliament Speaker Andrei Paruby, are Uniates. Yesterday, the Information Department of the Uniate church reported that they respect the opinions of their “Orthodox brothers,” and thus a meeting between Shevchuk and Dumenko will be held to resolve the issue. http://orthochristian.com/119564.html?fbclid=IwAR0FaVLey2T8b86_8yocmgt2NkSMgcwQxl-GkyM6fwgsKA7olXZyTeyESow