Ukrainian bishops rebel against Moscow patriarch


RISU, 29 March 2016


Bishop of Bancheny Longin Zhar, a vicar of the Chernovtsy diocese of the UPTsMP, at a meeting with Orthodox clergymen gave an assessment of the Havana declaration, which the pope and the primate of the RPTs signed in February at the airport, and he explained why he has refused to commemorate Patriarch Kirill during the liturgy.


In his statements, the bishop was categorical. He said that the declaration is nothing other than a betrayal of Orthodoxy, a legalization of the teachings of Antichrist, and that the "all-Russian" patriarch, who placed his signature under it, committed "canonical crime."


The meeting of the UPTsMP bishop with clergy was held on 10 March in the Holy Ascension Bancheny monastery.


"We can conduct a dialogue with any person, and especially with foreign infidels. But conducting a dialogue is one thing; it is another to recognize the Roman pope as a canonical bishop. The patriarch's canonical crime in connection with conducting a meeting with the pope, without consultation with the bishops' council of the RPTs, is extremely severe," he declared.


The bishop reported that the meeting of the pope and RPTs patriarch was prepared secretly and none of the bishops knew anything about it.


"We know that this was prepared secretly, and that means a secret iniquity exists. After the meeting the patriarch said that everything had been done in secret, because he has enemies in Orthodoxy and they would be a problem. And today it has become clear that the pope became a brother to His Holiness, and we, Orthodox, have become his enemies," the UPTsMP hierarch concluded.


"And without the council and the approval of the council, nobody has the right to go to meet with the Roman pope. They could meet somewhere in a café to drink tea. But to decide questions of the church, one person never has that right. The signing of the declaration in Cuba is a betrayal and violation of the Orthodox faith. And for me personally, these 30 points (the Havana declaration—ed.) are Judas' thirty pieces of silver. . . . The declaration about the legalization of the teaching of Antichrist, signed in the airport, blasphemously and falsely rises up against Christ's truth and it is therefore for this that we reject the declaration, which bears within itself the spirit of apostasy and temptation for our Orthodox Christians," the bishop noted.


In his opinion, after such apostasy from Orthodoxy, Patriarch Kirill should not be commemorated during the liturgy.


"We pray for His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, and our brothers pray, and we should pray, but to commemorate during the liturgy, I cannot do, because I do not know who is Orthodox, who is Catholic, who is a heretic," the hierarch shared his spiritual experiences and added that the pope for him, despite the fact that Patriarch Kirill called him "His Holiness," all the same remains a heretic.


"I do not commemorate Patriarch Kirill at the divine liturgy primarily because of the 5th point. And I take these words correctly: "Despite the common tradition of the first ten centuries, Catholics and Orthodox for the course of almost a thousand years have lacked Eucharistic communion." And what does he want—that we commune together with the Roman pope, or what? And they immediately go on to the sixth point and say: we hope that our meeting will contribute to the work of achieving that unity that the Lord commanded. Pardon me, I never will be in unity with heretics. I am Orthodox and I will not become a traitor. I ask His Holiness' forgiveness, but let him ask forgiveness of our Orthodox church and of Orthodox Christians," Bishop Longin declared to the meeting's participants.


We recall that the meeting of Pope Francis with RPTs Patriarch Kirill was held on 12 February in the Havana airport. It lasted two hours and culminated in the signing of a joint declaration. The Russian patriarch was accompanied on the trip to Cuba by the chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow patriarchate), Bishop Antony. (tr. by PDS, posted 30 March 2016)




"Now a disturbing tendency of ecumenism has appeared, including also in the sphere of relations with the Catholic church," Metropolitan of Odessa and Ismail Agafangel declared on 20 March in his sermon after the Rite of Orthodoxy in Odessa's Holy Transfiguration cathedral church. "This is disturbing a multitude of believers, who observe with worry such a close convergence with heretics and numerous meetings with those whose predecessors betrayed our people, spreading the Unia by fire and sword and destroying Orthodoxy in the lands of Ukraine and Belarus."


Metropolitan Agafangel delivered his sermon, containing barely concealed criticism of the efforts of Patriarch Kirill at rapprochement with Rome expressed particularly in the signing on 12 February of the so-called Havana declaration, after the festive divine liturgy performed by him in concelebration with vicar bishops Arkady, Diodor, and Viktor, the official website of the UPTsMP Odessa diocese reports.


The hierarch gave his flock the example "of torture, prison, exile, and even death for the preservation of the purity of the Orthodox faith." Among the heresies that especially threaten Orthodoxy in our time, he singled out Catholicism: "Catholics have departed farther and farther from the purity of the apostolic faith and from the teachings of the holy fathers, inventing false doctrines and teaching."


"In the sacred days of the Great Fast," Agafangel urged, "we should stand firmly for the purity of our faith and for the preservation of the apostolic and holy patristic teaching, defending it from 'wolves in sheep's clothing' who are trying to penetrate into the flock of Christ in order to steal our souls, placing there the poison of the heresies and deceptions of ecumenism. May the lives of saints Ioann of Kronstadt, Lavrenty of Chernigov, Fedosy of the Caves, the holy prelate Serafim, and the host of others who stood guard over the canons of Orthodoxy, not permitting their distortion in favor of short-term interests, stand as examples for us." (tr. by PDS, posted 30 March 2016)

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