Orthodox Churches clearly expressed their attitude to Ukrainian schismatics. Was Filaret made to understand?

Forgetting Christ’s commandments, embracing ethnophyletism, giving preference to a Caesar, serving Mammon – all of this are symptoms of a serious disease that has affected schismatics of the so-called “Ukrainian” Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate ( “UOC-KP”) as a result of their falling away from Orthodoxy. Lies, the desire to usurp all that ones can, assaults against the faithful of the UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) – not merely the schismatic leader Filaret Denisenko’s undisguised readiness to the violence – all of this is well known to everyone nowadays.

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Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed “patriarch” continues to talk about autocephaly. It’s hard to figure what he is still after, since autocephaly can be recognized only by the Orthodox Churches. At the same time, none of the Orthodox Churches would ever enter into canonical communion with the schismatics, because doing this is the same as to be deprived of the Holy Spirit. As a consequence it will cease to be the Church as the Body of Christ, i.e. it will became merely the same civic organization as the “UOC-KP” is.

Unfortunately, many Ukrainians are not even aware of the fact that the sacraments administered by pro-Filaret priests are not the sacraments at all . Thus, after these “ordinances”, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian children are unbaptized, departed ones are buried without last rites and marriages are not blessed by God!

This fundamental theological truth was unanimously and squarely maintained by the Primates of all Local Churches in Chambesy on 22-28 January, 2016. Several bishops even emphasized this point specifically for Filaret and for the Ukrainians, for whom the Church came to be regarded as merely an institution to express their political preferences rather than a space of the Eucharistic communion.

Thus, the Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Irinej wrote about schismatic “UOC-KP” in his letter to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill as follows: “These people only nominally belong to the Orthodox Church. (…) Their contempt for the norms of Christian morality, their readiness to hate, lie and shed the blood clearly prove this”.

In turn, the Primate of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Neophyte expressed his deep concern about violent seizures of the Moscow Patriarchate’s churches and about mistreatment of the believers of only canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine. He even appealed to the President Petro Poroshenko and urged him to take all possible measures to protect the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from persecutions carried out by nationalists and the self-proclaimed Kyivan Patriarchate. Primates of the autocephalous Orthodox Churches of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem and of Poland expressed their support for the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Onuphrius as well.

Not surprisingly, neither the Ecumenical Patriarch nor the other Primates of the autocephalous Churches are not going to condone the schismatics. That is why the Chambesy Synaxis’s outcome for the Kyivan Patriarchate would have been the same regardless of the Patriarch Kirill’s speech.

Let us remember, in the course of this meeting the Primates of autocephalous Churches was unanimously acknowledged that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is the only canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Moreover, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople publicly confirmed that he would not consider the canonical recognition of Ukrainian schismatics. He also reassured that the bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the Diaspora must notify the UOC-MP of their visits on its canonical territory, as well as refrain from joint worship with the dissenters.

In this context, the statements of comrade Denisenko, who surely can’t be unaware of the real Church’s attitude toward him, seem to be an attempt to put a good face on a bad business. In an interview on February 10, 2016 to the channel “24”, self-proclaimed “Patriarch” of the schismatic “Ukrainian” Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate, said: “We do not need the (canonical) recognition, we need our autocephality to be recognized.” It is noteworthy how eloquently these words characterize schismatics and how (unfortunately for UOC-KP adherents) they move them further away from returning to the bosom of the Life-Giving Church.

Rather than strive for the resumption of the Eucharistic communion with the rest of the Orthodox world Filaret only persists in his vanity. Something like “It does not matter whether the Holy Spirit dwells in our churches or not, it is more important for us to be allowed to do whatever we want.” Thus, he puts his “self” before the salvation of the souls of believers. So, we can only pray and hope that Ukrainan faithful will awake to their spiritual danger as soon as possible.

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