Ukrainian church leader resists use of Ukrainian in liturgy


Religiia v Ukraine, 29 January 2016


Despite recent assurances by a spokesman for the UPTs, Bishop Kliment, of the loyalty of the head of the UPTs to Ukrainian-language liturgies, Metropolitan Onufrey continues to insist on the Church Slavonic language only during worship, a correspondent of the portal Religiia v Ukraine reports.


After the comments by Vladyka Kliment regarding the attitude of the UPTs head toward Ukrainian-language services, several days later the subject of the discussions himself spoke out. In an interview with the Union of Orthodox Journalists (a fake organization registered by Donetsk businessman Viktor Vishnevetsky—ed.), Metropolitan Onufrey again emphasized that in the UPTs sermons may be conducted in any language, but "the language of the divine liturgy and prayers is the Church Slavonic language."


The head of the UPTs declared that this is "the best language for worship," and that "there is no better language for worship." Moreover, this language "is understood by everyone who wishes to understand."


The metropolitan considers that if one translates the liturgy into the Ukrainian language, then in russo-phone regions people will not wish to worship in this language. Therefore the Slavonic language, as the UPTs head called it, unites believers.  The practice of a free choice of language by parishes, which already exists in some degree in the UPTs, was ignored by Vladyka Onufrey.


The metropolitan also repeated the disputable thesis that "all peoples have their own [special] language of worship," mistakenly calling the old English language the liturgical language of contemporary anglo-phone peoples and Old Slavonic the liturgical language of the UPTs.


We recall that a few days ago, UPTs spokesman Bishop Kliment declared that Church Slavonic keeps "a substantial portion of believers" from leaving the church, thus reducing these believers' retention in the UPTs to a linguistic dependency. (tr. by PDS, posted 1 February 2016)


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