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Found 11 results

  1. Shumylo concludes that initial ordinations of the UAOC hierarchy were, unfortunately, conducted by an imposter without the Apostolic succession. On January 5-6, 2019, the official delegation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) at the ceremony of the Tomos bestowal at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul included Metropolitan Andriy Abramchuk of Galicia who concelebrated with Patriarch Bartholomew and the other Phanar bishops. In 1990, the Metropolitan was ordained by the notorious Victor (Vikenty) Chekalin, a pedophile and swindler who now serves a sentence in Australian jail for document forgery and fraud. At the anniversary of the Tomos bestowal this year, Patriarch Bartholomew led a divine service together with the now former Primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC, the one “restored” by Vikenty Chekalin) Makary Maletich. The latter was ordained by the hierarchs of the “Chekalin succession” – Dimitry Yarema, Ihor Isichenko and the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP) bishop Methodius Kudryakov. Part of UAOC bishops who in 2018 joined the OCU also got to the “Chekalin succession” through priestly and episcopal consecrations from Andriy Abramchuk, Makary Maletich and others. Even within the OCU the attitude toward this succession is ambiguous. Taking into consideration the necessity of discussing the issue of Apostolic succession of this part of the OCU hierarchy, Serhii Shumylo, Director of the International Institute of the Athonite Legacy in Ukraine, presented his new report titled “The self-avowed “bishop” Vikenty Chekalin and his participation in the first UAOC ordinations in March of 1990”. With the blessing of Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia this work was submitted to the Ecumenical Patriarch. The documents, evidence and facts presented in the study – including the ones from previously unknown archival sources – confirm that the first UAOC ordination on March 31, 1990 in Mikhailevychi village in Lviv Oblast was carried out by only two persons: Ioann Bodnarchuk, defrocked on November 13, 1989 because of his voluntary secession from the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), and fraudster Victor Chekalin. Besides, according to the published certificate, this “ordination” was led by Chekalin, who has never been ordained not only as a bishop but even monk or priest. In his research, Shumylo also studies publications that appeared at the Ukrainian site Cerkvarium.org by Dmytro Horevoy and Greek sites Phanarion.blogspot.com and Romfea.gr in August-September 2019, which stated that the bishopric ordination of Vikenty Chekalin was authentic. Studying various versions of Chekalin’s admission to monastic vows and ordination, and attempting to understand the motives of the main parties, the historian compares the remembrance of Archbishop Eulogius Smirnov, Abbot of Danilov Monastery in Moscow, and archival documents and correspondence according to which, Chekalin wasn’t even ordained as a monk. Also compared are the testimonies by Ioann Bodnarchuk and Victor Chekalin of various periods concerning the latter’s bishopric ordination. Thus, Chekalin’s own testimony before the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) Synod in July 1989 – January 1990 shows that Ioann Bodnarchuk didn’t take part in his ordination. The other two bishops who allegedly ordained Chekalin – Metropolitan Alexei Konoplev of Kalinin and Kashin and bishop of the Catacomb Church Vladimir Abramov – had already passed away by that moment and no confirmation of their participation in the ordination was found. As for the first UAOC ordination of 31 March 1990, it should be mentioned that the signature of Archbishop Varlaam (Ilyushchenko) of Simferopol and Crimea of the ROC was added to Vasyl Bodnarchuk’s Certificate of Ordination after the Archbishop’s death. According to the written testimonies of Archbishop Varlaam’s driver and archdeacon, the hierarch didn’t leave his diocese and held divine services in the Simferopol Cathedral on that day. Moreover, being a member of the ROC Synod, Varlaam personally signed the Moscow Synod’s resolution of November 14, 1989 on depriving Ioann Bodnarchuk of his episcopal rank, and “no way could secretly ordain new bishops with him four months later,” Shumylo writes. This situation, with archival documents signed by Ioann Bodnarchuk, was covered in detail in a piece by Fr. Rostislav Yarema (an English translation was published by the Orthodox Cognate PAGE). Thus, Shumylo concludes that initial ordinations of the UAOC hierarchy were, unfortunately, conducted by an imposter without the Apostolic succession. This was the violation of the first Apostolic Canon (“Let a bishop be ordained by two or three bishops”). The historian reminds that both Mstyslav Skrypnyk and Filaret Denisenko didn’t recognize the authenticity of the ordinations of the “Chekalin succession” hierarchs. However, many of those ordained this way were convinced in the legitimacy of their dignity and refused to be reordained, so the “Chekalin succession” still partly exists in the UAOC and UOC-KP. And in that status, many of the clergymen and hierarchs were accepted into communion by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Considering that copies of the Certificate of Ordination and the evidence mentioned in the media were provided to the Phanar and could become a basis for the Patriarchate Synod to recognize in October 2018 the UAOC hierarchy in their “current dignity” without reordination, Serhii Shumylo expresses his concern about the Ecumenical Patriarchate taking decision on the grounds of bogus documents and advocates that a detailed study of this issue should be made. Historian Finds New Evidence to Prove Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church’s Initial Ordination was Illegitimate THEDURAN.COM Shumylo concludes that initial ordinations of the UAOC hierarchy were, unfortunately, conducted by an imposter without the Apostolic succession.
  2. Yesterday, January 22, the Sixth Court of Appeal ordered the State Migration Service of Ukraine in the Volyn Oblast to return Ukrainian citizenship to His Grace Bishop Gideon (Kharon) of Makarov, the abbot of the Tithes Monastery in Kiev, repots Ukrainska Pravda. The court also recognized that the Migration Service had no right to cancel the decision to grant His Grace citizenship by territorial origin in accordance with part 1, article 8 of the Law of Ukraine, “On Ukrainian Citizenship.” Bp. Gideon was unexpectedly detained in the Kiev Boryspil in Kiev in February last year upon returning from America, where he had spoken with Congressmen about the persecution the canonical Ukrainian Church was facing under Poroshenko’s rule. His Grace was deported, his passport was confiscated, and his citizenship was canceled. He also holds American citizenship and ended up spending several months in California. He later filed a lawsuit against the Migration Service in the Volyn Oblast, demanded that the decision to cancel his citizenship be overturned and declared illegal. The District Administrative Court of Kiev began proceedings in the case on April 23, and on September 19, the court ruled in Bp. Gideon’s favor, deciding not only to return his citizenship, but also to reimburse him for his court fees. Despite the Administrative Court’s September decision, the matter continued in the Appeals Court, whose decision came into effect immediately yesterday, although the Migration Service can still appeal. Court orders Migration Service to return citizenship to Ukrainian bishop who was deported under Poroshenko ORTHOCHRISTIAN.COM Yesterday, January 22, the Sixth Court of Appeal ordered the State Migration Service of Ukraine in the Volyn Oblast to return Ukrainian citizenship to His Grace Bishop Gideon (Kharon) of Makarov, the...
  3. Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople The Patriarchate of Constantinople restored the canonicity of the people that was outside the Church for no dogmatic reason, the head of the Phanar said. We consider it a great blessing from God that the Ecumenical Patriarchate managed to restore the canonicity of an entire multi-million nation, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople said in an interview about his activities in Ukraine with the Bulgarian news agency “BGNES”. At the same time, the primate of the Phanar assured that the multi-million Ukrainian nation "was outside the Church for no dogmatic reason". "Thank God! So, the decisive factor that made the Ecumenical Patriarchate grant Ukraine autocephaly is the healing of schism and the restoration of church unity,” said Patriarch Bartholomew. According to him, thanks to the Council of Chalcedon, the Patriarchate of Constantinople allegedly has the privilege of accepting appeals against the decisions of other Local Churches, and in the decision to grant the Tomos of independence to newly established Churches, it is not obliged to take into account the opinions of others on this issue. "The Ecumenical Patriarchate, guided by the sacred canons (including the 9th, 17th, and 28th canons of the IV Ecumenical Council, the 36th Canon of the Trullan Council, and 1 Canon of the Council of 879/880, which was held at the Hagia Sophia Church in Constantinople), assumed responsibility for granting the Tomos of autocephaly to all Churches, turning them into archdiocese or patriarchs, without discussion or cooperation on this matter with other Churches,” Patriarch Bartholomew stated. In his opinion, the legalization of schismatics from the UOC KP and the UAOC without their repentance fits into the framework of this practice. “In the case of Ukraine, we did nothing else. We used the same practice we have followed in recognizing all newly established Autocephalous Churches,” said the primate of the Phanar. He also reiterated that he considered Filaret and Makariy canonical bishops, despite the numerous testimonies of the hierarchs of the UOC and the ROC, that Makariy never was a bishop in the ROC but fell into schism as a priest. Patriarch Bartholomew finds the ROC responsible for Filaret Denisenko and Makariy Miletich's schism. "The schisms that were created in the past century and arose mainly from the desire of the Russian Church to prevent the church independence of Ukraine." He is confident that the presence of the Moscow Patriarchate in the country is detrimental to the Ukrainian people. “The shocking political events through which new, completely different geopolitical conditions were formed made the presence of the Moscow Patriarchate (in Ukraine – Ed.) undesirable and detrimental to the interests of the Ukrainian nation and the unity of the Ukrainian people. For this reason, it is understandable why most of the Ukrainian people want a church liberation from the Church, which helps or even serves the interests of the state that is in conflict with Ukraine,” he concluded. Earlier, the Greek theologian Pavlos Trokados explained that the Pan-Orthodox Council can be convened by the head of any Church, and the Primate of the Phanar has no special prerogatives or "primacy". “All Primates are equally" first "in modern reality with many states and should equally care about the stability of the Church. Therefore, they are jointly responsible for the convocation of the Pan-Orthodox Council since the Patriarch of Constantinople is only one of the members of the Council (as has been said about the Apostle Peter). Or maybe Patriarch Bartholomew is already superior to the Apostle Peter?” he stressed. https://spzh.news/en/news/62441-patriarkh-varfolomej-my-vosstanovili-kanonichnosty-vsej-ukrainskoj-nacii?fbclid=IwAR2stex_cZcKnHzkpAOlp6TYfg2AfIBObvf7IKa_pTSgBOmEh6odW8pafhs
  4. Ukrainian media has been reporting on trouble boiling under the surface of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) for several weeks now. Factions have formed between those who support the official primate “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko and those who remain loyal to and supportive of “Patriarch” Philaret Denisenko and are indignant at his minimal role in the new structure. Denisenko has been the unrivaled leader of the schismatic autocephaly movement in Ukraine for 30 years but was relegated to the role of “Honorary Patriarch” in the OCU, forbidden to put his name in for primate by the Patriarchate of Constantinople which created the new church in cooperation with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine. The first Synod meeting for the new “church” gave him control of Kiev churches—a far cry from the primatial leadership he had imagined for himself. Now the trouble has boiled over and Philaret has openly declared that he intends to restore the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) and take those hierarchs loyal to him with him. That is, the schismatic OCU, made up of two schismatic bodies, now faces the serious threaten of breaking down into two schismatic groups again. Despite promising Constantinople that the KP was liquidated just before the “unification council” on December 15 that united the KP with the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” (UAOC) to create the OCU, Philaret has since then continually declared that the KP still exists. He has given awards on behalf of the KP and parishes of the canonical Church that decided to go into schism were re-registered to the KP, not to the OCU. He has also declared that the “unification council” was in no way a Ukrainian council, but was a function of the Constantinople Church. It has become clear that Philaret kept the KP alive as Plan B in case he wasn’t satisfied with the new OCU, and he’s openly not. “The Kiev Patriarchate exists, it does not need to be returned,” he said in a recent interview 1+1. “There is a patriarch, and if there is a patriarch, then there is a patriarchate, the Kiev Patriarchate. And there it does and should exist. And the time will come when it will be recognized. I am 100% certain,” he added. He went on to acknowledge that there is a division in the “Ukrainian Church,” but said, “We are creating a single church—the Kiev Patriarchate. Necessarily.” The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, on the other hand, has officially stated on May 10 that the KP no longer legally exists in Ukraine as of January 30. However, the evidence shows otherwise, as the KP (and the UAOC) remains active in the state register of legal entities, individual entrepreneurs and public formations. As mentioned above, the KP has continued to receive new parishes since January 30. Philaret has also declared that only he who created the KP can liquidate it. Epiphany Dumenko was the protégé of Philaret Denisenko in the KP. Denisenko forced another KP “hierarch,” Mikhail Zinkevich, to remove his name from consideration for the primatial slot so his loyal project Dumenko could be elected. Denisenko assumed continued loyalty from Dumenko and even declared that he would continue to rule the church in tandem with the much younger Dumenko. However, the frosting of their relationship became apparent when Denisenko recently invited a number of “hierarchs” of the OCU to join him at Kiev’s Vladimir Cathedral on May 14 to celebrate the memory of St. Makary of Kiev, whose relics are kept at the cathedral. The invitations were sent on behalf of the KP, and Dumenko was not among the invitees. It is widely expected that the revival of the KP will be discussed. The Ternopil Diocese of the OCU, formerly the Ternopil Diocese of the UAOC, offered the clever response of expressing its support for Epiphany Dumenko in a letter published on UAOC letterhead. Denisenko did eventually invite Dumenko, commenting to him that he had not initially invited him because “not once after your election as the primate of the UOC—for five months—did you celebrate the Divine Liturgy with me. I had the thought, perhaps it’s wrong, that you consider it humiliating to serve with Patriarch Philaret?” The fact that Dumenko has not served with his mentor and “Honorary Patriarch” for five months indicates the growing sentiment among mainly the younger members of the KP that the future is not with Denisekno—it’s time to move on. And Dumenko’s supporters are striking back. An appeal to the supporters of Philaret, “10 Theses for the Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” has appealed online, imploring them not to provoke a new schism. Additionally, the administration of the schismatic Kiev Theological Academy has forbade its students from attending Philaret’s May 14 service for St. Makary. The online appeal states: “Immediately after the unification council, strange processes incomprehensible to us began, which we connect with the unacceptable lust for power and ambition of some of the church hierarchs… First of all, we are talking about several interviews of the former Patriarch of the UOC-KP Philaret.” The Orthodox world has long known that Philaret Denisenko went into schism in the first place 30 years ago after he was passed over for the Russian Patriarchal throne. As the Metropolitan of Kiev and Locum Tenens following the repose of Patriarch Pimen, Denisenko fully expected to ascend the throne, but in the aftermath of Alexei II’s election and enthronement, he betrayed Christ in His Church and became an ideologue of schismatic nationalism. He was defrocked, excommunicated, and eventually anathematized for persisting in schism. On October 11, the Holy Synod of Constantinople declared the anathema against him null and void. Its spokesmen have justified the overturning of the anathema by claiming it was never justified in the first place. Moscow had simply taken revenge on Philaret for seeking Ukrainian autocephaly they claim—it had nothing to do with Philaret’s lust for power. However, now that the Ukrainian schismatic church has autocephaly from Constantinople (though it is recognized only by Constantinople), there seems to be no justification for Philaret’s ongoing provocations, other than his egocentrism and lust for power that His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Albania spoke of in a 2015 interview. For his part, Epiphany Dumenko, who will not attend Philaret’s gathering, has responded that a return to the KP would mean the loss of the tomos of autocephaly from Constantinople and the isolation of the OCU. The OCU is, in fact, currently isolated from the rest of the Orthodox world, though Dumenko recently expressed the hope and belief that this will change. The current state of the OCU is only a continuation of what has always been. Before the “unification council” in December, the “hierarchs” of the KP and UAOC could not work together and the Holy Synod of Constantinople was forced to write the statutes for the schismatic church and to convene the “council,” forcing a unification of incompatible groups. http://orthochristian.com/121136.html?fbclid=IwAR1M8S0t4Ttj44C33Or8c5_ZuTrBkDHvIK9qslV_vqxNJGiEuxeCGHCst-s
  5. The consequences of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s creation of a new schismatic church in Ukraine and the granting of autocephaly to it continue to reverberate throughout the entire Orthodox world, and the monastic enclave of Mt. Athos is no exception. The issue has divided the monasteries, some of which have accepted and concelebrated with the visiting representatives of the new “church,” and some of which categorically reject them as schismatics. OrthoChristian recently published a translation of the opinion of the representatives of four Greek monasteries that sharply criticized the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian St. Panteleimon’s Monastery on Mt. Athos. Now a letter from 12 Athonite elders from various sketes and cells has been published in Greek by Romfea and in Russian by the Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church. The letter is dated March 17—a month after the first schismatic delegation visited Mt. Athos and celebrated Liturgy in several monasteries. “With great sorrow and concern we learn about what is happening in the Orthodox Church as a whole because of the non-canonical granting of autocephaly to the schismatics of Ukraine without the consent of the canonical autonomous Church headed by Metropolitan Onuphry, which continues to consider the new autocephalites as schismatics, having no communion with them and, on the basis of the sacred canons, with all of those who have communion with the schismatics,” the letter opens. The Patriarchate of Constantinople granted autocephaly to a group within another Church’s jurisdiction, in clear violation of the holy canons, the Athonite fathers write, and thus the Russian Church has broken communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In the authors’ view, Constantinople’s actions threaten a schism on the scale of the 1054 split between Rome and Constantinople. The Church is still bleeding from the wounds from the ecumenist council of Crete in 2016, and now there has been inflicted a new wound, “for which the Ecumenical Patriarchate is solely responsible,” the letter reads. Further, this justification of schism places people’s souls in danger of damnation because the Holy Spirit is not active in schism, the fathers write, with reference to the teachings of Sts. Basil the Great and John Chrysostom. Heresy and schism are the work of satan, the Athonites write categorically. “When [the devil] fails to thwart salvation through heresies, then he works to provoke schisms,” they assert. The occasion of the writing of this letter, the authors write, is that they do not want to fall into this soul-destroying work of the devil. The Athonite elders continue to recognize the schismatics precisely as such, and they reject the historical revisionism of Constantinople which claims that Ukraine has always been its territory: We have left the world and the pleasures of the world and we use our souls and bodies for ascetic podvigs, to obtain the mercy of God. Would it not be inexcusable negligence and folly to render our labors and aspirations worthless by communing with the Ukrainian schismatics who are removed from Eucharistic communion and defrocked by the Russian Church to which they belonged for more than three centuries, according to the unchanging, continuous, and general recognition of all Orthodoxy, including the Ecumenical Patriarchate? The fathers then point to canons from the ecumenically-recognized councils of Laodicea and Antioch to demonstrate that joint prayer with schismatics is prohibited, and that those who enter into communion with the excommunicated ought themselves to be excommunicated. Further, only the Church that excommunicates someone can receive him back—a rule clearly broken by Pat. Bartholomew, the fathers write, which according to the Council of Antioch, makes him subject to excommunication. “In 1686, by an act of Patriarch Dionysius IV, [Ukraine] entered the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, which according to pan-Orthodox consent has remained for 333 years until this day,” the letter reads. Later, after the fall of communism, Philaret Denisenko went into schism after he lost the election for Patriarch of Moscow and was subsequently defrocked and anathematized. Thus, the Athonite ascetics reject the historical revisionism that says that Philaret was punished simply for desiring autocephaly. Additionally, the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” of Makary Maletich traces not only to schismatics, but even to those wholly devoid of any apostolic succession, the letter states, and thus they are recognized as schismatic by all, except for Constantinople. However, the canonical Church remains that headed by Met. Onuphry, according to the Athonite elders. And the problem did not begin with the Ukrainian situation: “It has long been known that Pat. Bartholomew does not have any particular respect for the sacred canons, which he has violated and violates, especially with regard to relations with heretics, and now with schismatics.” The entire construct upon which Pat. Bartholomew’s invasion of Ukrainian Church territory is built is like a house built on the sand of inept advisors: At first, relying on insufficiently-educated or self-serving theological consultants, he tried to justify his invasion by referring to the concept of ekkliton (ἔκκλητον), that is, that he alone, as a second pope, can accept appeals and petitions from other autocephalous Churches, as he is, allegedly, according to the recently-appeared prevailing opinion of the pseudo-theologians of the post-Patristic era, not the first among equals (primus inter pares), but the first without equals (primus sine paribus). And further: But this argument immediately crashed with a bang, because it contradicts the conciliar system of Church governance, in which all patriarchs and primates are considered equal to one another, with Constantinople having only a primacy of honor, not power, as claimed by the Pope. The right to hear appeals extends only to those of his own jurisdiction, and not to the jurisdiction of other patriarchs. The fathers then refer to the comments on the 9th canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council of the “God-moved” St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite, “one of our greatest theologians and canonists,” to substantiate their argument about who has the right to hear which appeals. The Athonite elders then point to Constantinople’s changing tactics in regard to the Ukrainian situation: When Patriarch Bartholomew realized that he couldn’t rely upon ekkliton in his cross-border intervention within the bounds of another’s jurisdiction, then with the help of his own advisors, ready to serve him, he discovered 333 years later that Ukraine is within the jurisdiction not of the Russian, but of the Constantinopolitan Church! His inattentive or militant theologians concealed and misinterpreted many documents and opinions in order to come to the ridiculous conclusion about the temporary nature of the transfer of Ukraine to the Russian Church (a temporary character of more than three centuries!), and that now this concession is canceled. Despite these games on the part of Constantinople, every Local Church recognizes the Church in Ukraine as that headed by the “wise and modest” Met. Onuphry, as the elders write, which did not request autocephaly. As autocephaly was given to a minority group of schismatics, against the pan-Orthodox opinion, the autocephaly is highly problematic. The authors of the letter also consider it unjust and devoid of basic logic to “place a magnifying glass” on the nationalistic or ecumenistic tendencies of some in the Russian Church (past and present), though not of the canonical Ukrainian Church they note, in order to justify Constantinople’s anti-canonical invasion. The elders then testify that the majority of the fathers of the Holy Mountain rejoiced with great joy when the Sacred Community decided not to send a delegation to the enthronement of the schismatic “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko or even to send him a congratulatory letter. But they were very upset by the minority of monasteries and fathers which still participated in the enthronement. The same torn feelings were caused by the visitation of the delegation of the schismatic church to the Holy Mountain: “The exact same feelings of joy filled our hearts because many monasteries prevented the visit of ‘bishops’ and ‘clerics’ of the new false Church, but bitterness and dispassionate anger towards those, fortunately, few who courteously accepted them and/or served with them!!!” Due to the seriousness of the issue, and for the sake of the high authority that Mt. Athos enjoys in the Orthodox world, and for the sake of ensuring inter-Athonite unity, the authors of the letter entreat that the schismatics be denied access to the Holy Mountain, or at the least that their “clerics” not be allowed to serve, until a pan-Orthodox resolution is reached, given that, despite the extreme pressure, no Church has recognized the schismatics over the past three months. This decision should be made as soon as possible given the news about the schismatics planning more visits to Mt. Athos, the fathers write. Moreover, the founders of the Ukrainian schismatic movement are not only condemned by the Church, but also have the condemnation of civil courts for grave moral crimes, unthinkable even for non-Christians, the letter reads. They are also weighed down by involvement in the recent Bulgarian schism, ties with the Ukrainian Uniates, and persecution against the canonical Church, especially after Constantinople recognized them. They also lament Epiphany Dumenko’s recent statements about softening on the sin of homosexuality. Moreover, the schismatics visiting the Holy Mountain are not spiritually, but are rather politically motivated—looking only for acceptance of their illegitimate group that they can then advertise to the Orthodox world, “and to achieve their wicked plans,” the Athonite elders write. In conclusion, the fathers emphasize that they will not jeopardize their salvation by entering into communion with the excommunicated schismatics and that they will not promote the present schism on the local or global Orthodox level. “We fear an inter-Athonite schism if we do not make correct and courageous decisions,” the Fathers conclude. The letter is signed by: Elder Hieromonk Arsenios with the brotherhood of Panagouda cell of Koutloumousiou Monastery; Elder Hieromonk Abraham with the brotherhood of the kallyva of St. Gerasimos of Koutloumousiou Skete; Elder Hierodeacon Theophilos with the brotherhood of the cell of the Holy Unmercenaries of Grigoriou Monastery; Elder Nicholas of the cell of St. Demetrios of Hilandar Monastery; Elder Joseph with the brotherhood of the cell of St. Theodore of St. Paul’s Monastery; Elder Savva with the brotherhood of the cell of the Holy Archangels of Hilandar Monastery; Elder Nikodemos of the cell of St. Nektarios of Stavronikita Monastery; Elder Gabriel of the cell of St. Christodoulos of Koutloumousiou Monastery; Elder Euphrosynos with the brotherhood of the cell of St. John the Forerunner of Koutloumousiou Monastery; Elder Paisios with the brotherhood of the cell of the Holy Archangels of Hilandar Monastery; Elder Nikodemos of the cell of St. John the Theologian of the Great Lavra; Elder Arsenios of the kallyva of the Holy Monk-Martyr Gerasimos of Koutloumousiou Skete. http://orthochristian.com/120863.html?fbclid=IwAR1zff4SNu49qZZFj35lUMS7iPxGUBWZJPaVCfkYqZxCxm1KlS58nFcR1GA
  6. MOSCOW – Top ranking SBU (Ukrainian Security Service) agent in charge of the ATO operation through 2014 when the operation commenced, Vasily Prozorov, has just made some stunning statements to international media, and has recently escaped to Russia. Moreover, without exaggeration, this is a major blow to the foreign policy positions of Kiev. It is also a very weighty argument for those forces in Europe who want to quickly move the peace process in Ukraine from its present stalemate. In speaking to journalists, Prozorov’s presentation can be summarized with these points: – Kiev from the very beginning did not plan to resolve the conflict in the south-east of Ukraine by peaceful means – Kiev initially planned a large number of victims among the population of Donbass, then they wanted to declare them accomplices of terrorists – In the area of the ATO there are Ukrainian secret prisons (as he called them concentration camps) – The neo nazi Azov unit also had its secret prisons. This is not Russian propaganda, people were actually killed there. – Specialists from the USA and the UK prepared a division of the SBU (Department No. 5) who went to train in the US and abroad to organize terrorist attacks and sabotage in Donbass – The Ukrainian side was involved in the Boeing crash of the MH17 flight The Ukrainian side was involved in the MH17 flight disaster over Donbass, a former officer of the Ukrainian security service SBU, Vasily Prozorov, told a news conference on Monday. “It is my personal opinion and it relies on certain information. The Ukrainian side is an accomplice to the Malaysian MH17 flight disaster,” he said. “The amazingly prompt reaction of the Ukrainian leadership was the first thing that made me feel suspicious. My unequivocal opinion was President Pyotr Poroshenko and his press-service had prior knowledge of the affair. Secondly, hostilities had been underway for several months by then, but the airspace over the area was not closed,” Prozorov said. In particular he emphasized the invariable response to all of his attempts to find out the circumstances of the disaster, for instance, a conversation with General Staff officers. The usual reply was: “Don’t poke your nose into this business, if you don’t wish to have problems.” “Some information has leaked out in the end, though. On the basis of my own analysis I can speculate who was an accomplice in the crime and who was involved in concealing evidence. In my opinion, there were two men involved – the current deputy chief of the Ukrainian presidential staff Valery Kondratyuk and chief of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s intelligence directorate, Vasily Burba.” A passenger liner Boeing-777 of the Malaysia Airlines (Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur) disappeared from the radar screens over the east of Ukraine’s Donetsk Region on July 17, 2014. Its crash killed all 298 passengers and crew on board – citizens of ten countries. Although hostilities had been underway on the ground for quite some time by then Kiev failed to close the Donbass airspace to international passenger flights. Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine created a Joint Investigation Team. On May 24 last year it published an interim report to claim that the missile launcher which had fired the missile that downed the plane might have been brought from Russia’s 53rd air defense missile brigade. https://www.fort-russ.com/2019/03/breaking-ukrainian-security-boss-admits-ukraine-shot-down-mh-17-planned-ethnic-genocide-in-donbass/
  7. Despite enduring 3 months of persecutions, threats, church seizures, and promises of material goods, the clergy of the Chernivtsi-Bukovina Diocese of the canonical Church are remaining faithful to Christ in His Church, under the primatial rule of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists. According to the diocesan press service, only 2 priests have defected to the schismatic church, with 447 priests remaining faithful to the Church and the oath they gave at their ordinations. Thus, they have not abandoned the flocks entrusted to them by God. “In recent months we have seen personal threats, the seizure of churches, cut locks, buckets of slop poured out by the ‘independent’ media, the temptation of honors from state officials, promises of material benefits from the creators of the new faith… But what’s it all for if having crossed over the threshold, you can only fall down dead?” write the clergy of the diocese. In January, the clergy of the Gertsa Deanery of the Chernivtsi-Bukovina Diocese appealed to local authorities with an open letter, calling for an end to the persecution of the clergy of the canonical Church. “We will confess the faith that Christ has left us,” the statement read. “We remain faithful to the Lord God, our canonical UOC in the person of his Beatitude Onuphry Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine and we will serve, above all, God, the true Orthodox faith and the Ukrainian people, and we will be in a prayerful connection with the entire canonical Orthodox world.” In this latest report, the clergy call on all to pray for the faithful pastors of the Church, that the Lord would grant them strength to worthily withstand the present trials. The Bukovina region is home to more than 100 Romanian-language parishes, which has made it somewhat of a disputed area. In its latest statement on the Ukrainian crisis, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Patriarchate declared that it would take the fate of those parishes into special consideration and would seek a guarantee from both ecclesiastical and state authorities that the Romanian language and culture there would be protected and that a Romanian vicariate would be established to facilitate their connection with their Romanian homeland. “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, the head of the schismatic church, then declared that they were ready to meet the Romanian Synod’s conditions and open a vicariate, and later that they are preparing a delegation to send to the Romanian Church. The schismatics expect the Romanian Church to be among the first to recognize them, though the Romanian Synod called on Moscow and Constantinople to work out the issue jointly. http://orthochristian.com/120135.html?fbclid=IwAR0WGDPDBb3xE_9k_LCr9AGKIS8lCwRfLwLUB59wZAhdPCxC6D76JxbkfaU
  8. Cherkassy, Ukraine, March 14, 2019 Criticizing the tomos of autocephaly given to the Ukrainian schismatic church by the Patriarchate of Constantinople is now being seen as a criminal offense in Ukraine. Seven employees of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), the nation’s successor to the KGB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Prosecutor’s Office spent four hours searching the apartment of Ukrainian writer Oleg Slepinin, accused of publishing articles under a pseudonym in Russian outlets, the Security Service’s press service reports. The search took place yesterday, resulting in the officers confiscating several personal items. He is accused of condemning the creation of the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” and the granting of the tomos of autocephaly on January 6. “In the Cherkassy Province, the SSU blocked the spread of provocative anti-Ukrainian materials, aimed at inciting religious enmity,” the statement reads. The Security Service also earlier accused hierarchs and priests possessing a pamphlet explaining the schism in Ukraine of inciting religious enmity and even treason. The computer, laptop, phone, flash drives, diplomas, books with autographs, and business cards, etc. of the winner of international literary awards were seized during the search, religious scholar and historian Dmitry Skvortsov reported on Facebook. According to him, Slepinin has no lawyer. He had just been released from the hospital a week prior, having been treated for hypertensive crisis. He suffered a repeat attack during the four-hour search, though he refused hospitalization. http://orthochristian.com/119901.html?fbclid=IwAR3TcX8suB7uGQrtaeFOLlU0QvgTS_AIQOa2ZNsqHbrJimVzss7f6fdU9g8
  9. 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
  10. The Romanian Holy Synod met today under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel for its first session of 2019. Among the agenda items was the ongoing crisis situation in Ukraine. In a January interview, Archbishop Daniel of Pamphylia of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, one of Constantinople’s two Exarchs to Kiev who helped prepare for mid-December’s scandalous “unification council,” predicted that the Greek and Romanian Churches would be the first to recognize and accept, by the end of February, the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” that was created by Constantinople at the “council” and given a tomos of autocephaly on January 6. In his opening remarks, Pat. Daniel spoke about the tension in Ukraine and noted that there are currently 127 parishes in Ukraine with Romanian communities, calling on the Holy Synod to consider their pastoral care, reports the Basilica News Agency. These parishes, mainly in northern Bukovina, are reportedly very troubled by the recent events in Ukraine. The Synod made several points about the Ukraine situation in the official communiqué on the session’s results. The bishops first note that the schisms in Ukraine have persisted for 30 years and that there was not even an appeal for pan-Orthodox mediation, as was done in the case of the schism in Bulgaria. Seeing this impasse, the Ecumenical Patriarchate granted a tomos of autocephaly to the hierarchs, clergy, and laity who were in schism from the Russian Church and the entire Orthodox Church. As the Synod notes, this tomos was accepted only by those Ukrainians not in communion with the Russian Church. It is important to note here that the Romanian Church thus still considered the members of the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” to be schismatics when they received the tomos on January 6, even after they were received by the Patriarchate of Constantinople on October 11. Therefore, ecclesiastical unity has not yet been achieved in Ukraine, “because there is a large population of Russian ethnicity that keeps a direct link with the Moscow Patriarchate,” the Romanian Synod writes. However, the canonical Ukrainian Church under His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine remains by far the largest Church in Ukraine, with millions of ethnic Ukrainians also remaining faithful to the Church that is an autonomous body within the Russian Church. The Synod then reiterates the view expressed at it May 24 and October 25 sessions, recommending that the Moscow and Constantinople Patriarchates find a solution to the conflict through dialogue, preserving the unity of the faith, respecting the administrative-pastoral freedom of the clergy and faithful of Ukraine (including the right to autocephaly), and restoring Eucharistic communion. In their October statement, the bishops emphasized that synodality is “a permanent necessity in the life of the Church.” In the event of the failure of bilateral dialogue, then it will be necessary to convene a Synaxis of the primates of the Orthodox Church to solve the problem, the Synod writes. For a concrete decision, priority will be given to the consideration of the 127 Romanian parishes at a future Synod session. It is necessary to consult with these parishes, the bishops state, as they are concerned about preserving their ethnic and linguistic identity. Thus, the Synod writes that it is necessary to obtain written guarantees from the Church authorities that the Romanians’ ethnicity and language will be respected and that they will have the opportunity to organize into a Romanian vicariate and to cultivate their spiritual connection with the Romanian Patriarchate. The statement also mentions that a Ukrainian vicariate has operated in Romania since 1990. The Romanian Church will also request that Constantinople clarify the problem of the non-canonical hierarchs and priests in the West, who belonged to the former “Kiev Patriarchate.” The Holy Synod will express its official position following the above-mentioned consultations. http://orthochristian.com/119511.html?fbclid=IwAR07XvnA1u84ZZAQCU9G3cUTS76OT9aE74H6Vulpcnj5bu9LqGWVaT3U18s
  11. The Church also calls for a pan-Orthodox gathering to address the Ukrainian issue. Warsaw, November 16, 2018 The official site of the Polish Orthodox Church has published its Council of Bishops’ communiqué from its Wednesday session, confirming earlier reports that they refused to recognize Constantinople’s rehabilitation of the two groups of Ukrainian schismatics. “The Holy Bishops’ Council forbids the priests of the Polish Orthodox Church from having liturgical and prayerful contact with the ‘clergy’ of the so-called Kiev Patriarchate and the so-called ‘Autocephalous Orthodox Church,’ which have committed much evil in the past,” the statement reads. According to the Polish hierarchs, persons deprived of episcopal and clerical ordination cannot be leaders in establishing peace in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. “Only the observance of the dogmatic and canonical norms of the Church and the preservation of the centuries-old tradition will protect Orthodoxy from severe ecclesiastical consequences on an international scale. The Polish Orthodox Church prays fervently for the unity of the holy Orthodox Church and for peace for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” the message further reads. The portions of the communiqué concerning Ukraine read in full: I. The holy Council of Bishops has received disturbing news from Church life in Ukraine, which often affects the life of Orthodoxy in Poland. Considering the above, as well as the general Orthodox concern of the Orthodox Local Churches resulting from the instability of Church life in Ukraine, which has a devastating impact on the whole life of the Church in Orthodoxy in general, the holy Bishops’ Council, in the interest of the good of the holy Orthodox Church, upholds the position expressed in the Council’s resolution of May 9, 2018, No. 340, and reiterates its call to make a decision to gather all the primates of the Orthodox Churches together in the spirit of evangelical love, humility, and understanding, while maintaining dogmatic and canonical doctrine, with mutual respect leading to a peaceful solution to the issue of divided Orthodoxy on Ukrainian soil. Persons deprived of episcopal ordinations and priests cannot be leaders in introducing peace in the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Their actions cause even more confusion and scandal. Only the observance of the dogmatic and canonical norms of the Church and the preservation of the centuries-old tradition will protect Orthodoxy from severe ecclesiastical consequences on an international scale. The Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church prays fervently for the unity of the holy Orthodox Church and for peace for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church II. The Holy Bishops’ Council forbids the priests of the Polish Orthodox Church from having liturgical and prayerful contact with the ‘clergy’ of the so-called Kiev Patriarchate and the so-called ‘Autocephalous Orthodox Church,’ who have committed much evil in the past. The Council of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church also recently refused to accept the rehabilitation of the Ukrainian schismatics. In calling for dialogue between the various Orthodox Churches, the Polish Church echoes the call of not only the Russian Church, but also of the Romanian, Antiochian, Georgian, and Orthodox Church in America Holy Synods. The same call has also been made by the primates of the Serbian, Antiochian, Czech and Slovak Churches, and the Finnish Church, which is an autonomous body within the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and also by a joint Antiochian-Serbian statement. Met. Sawa himself made the same call last month. http://orthochristian.com/117295.html?fbclid=IwAR1gsCinoQLTfaJ-OkbCVz_MPRMKH2mL3QDEs9CK_bNZDuiYEZbH8c8__M4
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