Придружите се нашој ВИБЕР ГРУПИ на ЛИНКУ
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.
Several hundred people were received into the holy Orthodox Church by the Mystery of Baptism in India recently, including 47 Protestant pastors who have been telling their communities about the true faith.
A missionary team, consisting of Fr. Athanasius Kone of the Holy Theotokos of Iveron Russian Orthodox Church in Hawaii, Papa Ephraim, formerly of St. Anthony’s Monastery in Arizona and currently of St. Nilus Skete in Alaska, Fr. George Maximov of Moscow, Sister Paraskevi of St. Nilus Skete, and Sister Ioanna and Anastasia from Moscow, spent about two weeks in India, preaching and teaching about holy Orthodoxy and baptizing 350 people into Christ.
About 1,000 people had expressed interest in being baptized, but various issues led to only several hundred being baptized during the trip. A detailed description of the entire trip came be found at Papa Ephraim’s Orthodox River blog.
Fr. George Maximov has also published a video about the trip, including footage of the Baptisms and Chrismations:
As Papa Ephraim explains, a book by Fr. Seraphim Bell, Understanding the Rich Heritage of the Orthodox Church, was translated into the local Telugu language in November, and then Fr. Seraphim was able to visit India for two weeks in December and lead intensive catechetical courses for 60 pastors who then preached to their parishioners about Orthodoxy, and thus many were ready to receive Baptism.
Other texts translated or being translated include The Catechism of St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Typica, the Baptismal service, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, 5 small books of Fr. Daniel Sysoev, and elements from The Truth of our Faith by Elder Cleopa.
The Baptisms occurred over the span of the two-week trip, some days with groups of 100 people, some days with only 10 or 12. Most of them were celebrated at an old orphanage owned by Fr. Wesley, who has known Fr. Athanasius for several decades and who was responsible for making most of the arrangements for the trip.
In addition to celebrating Baptisms, the group also preached and taught about repentance, Tradition, monasticism, icons, Church singing, how to bake prosphora, etc, and they served the Liturgy several times. As Papa Ephraim details, language issues made everything a little chaotic, as did resistance, sometimes fierce and almost violent, from local Hindus and also Catholics.
Some of the 1,000 people who had planned to be baptized were deterred by the strong reactions from other Indians, and about 500 of them live in remote villages where a terrorist group has been especially violent lately, taking hostages, often killing them.
As Papa Ephraim writes, the demons of course resist the good work that is being done in India, and their presence is greater there due to the millennia of idolatry there, but, with God’s help, hundreds of souls were brought into the saving enclosure of the Church.
A special statement on the situation in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was adopted by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church at its session yesterday, reports the press service of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Synod again notes the lamentable situation of increased persecution that has arisen in Ukraine thanks to Constantinople’s interference in Church life there, and calls upon the other Local Orthodox Churches to support their suffering brethren and the Ukrainian authorities to cease its persecutions.
The statement reads in full:
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church notes with deep concern the sharp deterioration of the situation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The granting by the Patriarchate of Constantinople of a “tomos of autocephaly” to the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” artificially created by the merger of two schismatic organizations, further strengthened the division between the Orthodox of Ukraine and significantly exacerbated inter-confessional relations.
Of particular concern is the gross interference of the state authorities of Ukraine in the internal Church life and attempts by politicians to use the Church in opportunistic interests. At the same time, the fundamental rights and human freedoms enshrined in the Ukrainian constitution are flagrantly trampled upon.
Discriminatory laws have been adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and entered into force, the purpose of which is to deprive the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of its name and to legalize the seizure of its churches and monasteries. The faithful of the canonical Church are also stricken in other rights: Its clergy are deprived of the opportunity to meaningfully nourish soldiers, law enforcement officers, and prisoners.
It is becomingly increasingly clear that the aim of the representatives of the current state powers is the liquidation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The local authorities and law enforcement agencies were given recommendations to maximally facilitate the transfer of Ukrainian Orthodox Church communities into schism.
There are threats of taking the largest monasteries and historical holy sites from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—the Kiev Caves Lavra and the Pochaev Lavra.
The majority of cases of churches being taken from their religious communities happen contrary to their decisions to remain in the canonical Church. The decision of the religious community is replaced by the vote of a general assembly of citizens who most often are not members of the parish of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The minutes of such meetings are immediately approved by the authorities, after which the church is seized with the assistance of security forces.
This lawlessness has led to a surge of violence against the clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Despite the assurances of the leadership of Ukraine and the Patriarchate of Constantinople about the peaceful character of the so-called “unification of Ukrainian Orthodox,” dozens of churches have been seized by breaking in, with the support of paramilitary groups, often with the beating of priests and the faithful of the canonical Church, trying to defend their holy sites. Dozens of communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are forced to gather for prayer in private homes or on the street.
In this difficult situation, we call upon all faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church to strengthen their prayers for their suffering brothers in Ukraine, that they might be granted courage and Christian patience in their stand for holy Orthodoxy.
We appeal to the state authorities of Ukraine with a call to cease the persecution against their own citizens who do not want to join the schism.
We entreat our fraternal Local Orthodox Churches to prayerfully support the persecuted Ukrainian Orthodox Church, headed by Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
We call upon the global community to be attentive to the blatant facts of the violation of human rights and to give a proper assessment to the gross interference of the Ukrainian state in the affairs of the Church.