Realignment of individual Ukrainian parishes underway


RISU, 10 January 2019


In Khmelnitsky oblast, five parishes left the Moscow patriarchate and joined the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (Pravoslavnaia Tserkov Ukrainy—PTsU). This was described by Metropolitan Antony on his Facebook page.


"It is our great Christmas joy to receive brothers and sisters with their spiritual father, Archpriest Vitaly Oliinyk from the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine (RPTsU) into the Khmelnitsky diocese of the PTs of Ukraine. At a joint communion worship service on 9 January 2019, the divine liturgy, in the church of St. Stephen the First Martyr and Archdeacon, on his memorial day, in Belogorie, the local dean, Archpriest Stepan Makovsky; the dean of Shepetovka district, Archpriest Vasily Pavliuk; the dean of Iziaslav district, Archpriest Vladimir Kovalchuk, with his clergy; and Archpriest Vitaly Oliinyk 'with one mouth and one heart' praised the Newborn God-child Christ, the Savior of the world. 'Christ is born—Praise him!'" Vladyka Antony noted.


The metropolitan of the PTsU also indicated the settlements where parishes expressed the desire to unite with the PTsU:


Iziaslav district

1. Village of Telezhintsy, parish in honor of the Protection of the Holy Mother of God, Archpriest Vitaly Oliinyk, rector;

2. Village of Zaruzhtsy, parish in honor of the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God, Archpriest Vitaly Oliinyk, rector;

3. Village of Pilki, parish in honor of the Holy Martyr Dimitry of Saloniki, Archpriest Vitaly Oliinyk, rector;

4. Village of Sukhuzhentsy, parish in honor of the Holy Archangel of God Michael, Archpriest Vitaly Oliinyk, rector;

5. Village of Chizhovka, parish in honor of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Divine, Archpriest Vitaly Oliinyk, rector;

6. the villages Mirnoe, Kalinovka, and Dmitrovka.

(tr. by PDS, posted 10 January 2019)



RISU, 10 January 2019


The religious parish of the church of St. Michael of the village of Peremoga of Kazatin district made a decision to transfer from the jurisdiction of the UPTs (Moscow patriarchate) into the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU).


This was reported by the press service of the Vinnytsia diocese of the PTsU.


The decision was made unanimously by all members of the religious community. Before this, a survey had been conducted in the village, during which more than 300 residents spoke in favor of joining the Ukrainian church. The rector of the church, which is being built in the village, Archpriest Vladimir Ratoshniuk, still has not been finally assigned and did not support the decision of his flock, and therefore the faithful sent to the Vinnytsia diocese of the PTsU a request to appoint a new rector for them. In accordance with the blessing of Metropolitan of Vinnytsia and Barskoe Simeon, the parish will temporarily be tended by the rector of the church of the village of Makhnivka, Archpriest Andrei Kiper.


Yesterday, on the feast of the Nativity of Christ, a meeting also was held of the parish of the church of the Nativity of the Holy Mother of God of the village of Puzytka of Kazatin district. At the meeting it was decided to join the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Unfortunately the former rector, priest Vadim Yakovenko, did not support the unanimous decision of his flock and therefore, with the blessing of Metropoitan of Vinnytsia and Barskoe Simeon, the spiritual nurture of the parish of the village of Puzyrka was entrusted to Archpriest Viktor Bodnar. (tr. by PDS, posted 10 January 2019)



Religiia v Ukraine, 10 January 2019


The church parish of the Holy Martyr Paraskeva Piatnitsa of the UPTsMP, which is in the village of Karov of Sokal district in the Lvov region, on Sunday, 6 January, made the decision to transfer into the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU), Religiia v Ukraine reports, with reference to


A deputy of the Sokal district council, Oleg Kozhushko, reported that the rector of the church of the Moscow patriarchate in the village of Karov, Miroslav Kinas, supported the decision of the parishioners about the transfer into the PTsU.


The Karov parish becomes now the fifth in the Lvov region to make the decision to transfer into the PTsU. Yesterday such decisions were agreed to by the largest church of the UPTsMP in the Lvov region, the church of Peter and Paul in Zhovkva, and also the UPTsMP churches in the villages of Peschany and Verchany and the city of Ugnev.


There are a total of 60 parishes of the UPTsMP in the Lvov region. The process of the gradual transfer of church parishes of the UPTsMP to the PTsU is proceeding throughout the country. (tr. by PDS, posted 10 January 2019)


Obozrevatel, 10 January 2019


Another nine parishes of the former Moscow patriarchate transferred to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.


This was reported by Metropolitan [of Khmelnitsky and Kamenets-Podolskii] Antony Makhota on his page in Facebook. Thus, in Khmelnitsky region, six religious parishes of the UPTsMP in Iziaslav district joined the united Orthodox church. He is talking about parishes in the villages of Telezhintsy, Zaruzhtsy, Pilki, Sukhuzhentsi, Chizhovka, and Prisilki. According to the metropolitan, the rector of all six parishes is Archpriest Vitaly Oleinik.


In the Vinnytsia region, two parishes of the Moscow patriarchate transferred to the newly created church. In particular, in the village of Peremoga of Kazatin district, a survey was conducted during which more than 300 residents favored joining the PTsU.


Also believers of the village of Puzytika of Kazatin district joined the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.


In addition, another parish of the UPTsMP transferred to the PTsU in Volyn. This decision was made by the rector and parishioners of the church in the village of Merva of Gorokhov district. (tr. by PDS, posted 10 January 2019)



RISU, 10 January 2019


The rector of the Holy Nativity of the Mother of God church of the village of Merva of Gorokhov district, Pavel Klitsuk, was forbidden to perform the divine liturgy because of "deviation into schism and gross violation of clerical oath." This was reported by VolynPost.


The corresponding order was signed on 8 January by the ruling bishop of Volyn diocese of the UPTsMP, Bishop of Volyn and Lutsk Nafanail.


The order says, specifically, that the rector of the Holy Nativity of the Mother of God church of the village of Merva of Gorokhov district, Pavel Klitsuk, is inhibited from clerical ministry without the right of  communion of the holy sacraments of Christ because of "deviation into schism and gross violation of the oath of a clergyman."


In a commentary for the news agency VolynPost, the press secretary of the Volyn diocese of the UPTs, Oleg Tochinsky, explained that by deviation into schism is meant that Pavel Klitsuk expressed the desire to join another confession. The issue is, in particular, the desire to join the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is led by Metropolitan Epifany.


"Inasmuch as the PTsU still has not been created as a legal entity, then I do not know what he wishes to join. But since one of the binding links with the PTsU is the Kiev patriarchate, then apparently it is the Kiev patriarchate. He personally declared that in the divine liturgy he prays for Epifany and Nafanail," Tochinsky said.


"Because of this, he cannot be a clergyman of our confession. He cannot perform a service any longer among us," press secretary Tochinsky added. (tr. by PDS, posted 10 January 2019)



RISU, 10 January 2019


Everybody understands that religious peace is a great treasure, which the churches and religious organizations of Ukraine have managed to preserve over the course of all the years of war. This is a matter of national security and the stability of our state. Although there have been many attempts to hijack this religious peace.


This was stated in an interview with the internet publication Glavkom by the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church [UGKTs], His Beatitude Sviatoslav, responding to a question of a journalist about whether Ukraine faces a new war for church buildings as occurred in the 1990s, the Department of Information of the UGKTs reports.


"I would very much not desire this," the primate said. "And I see that, except for enemies of Ukraine, nobody is interested in this. This has been warned against by His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, the president, the head of the Verkhovna Rada, and His Beatitude Metropolitan Epifany. We will see how these warnings and calls will be heeded."


His Beatitude Sviatoslav also noted that he does not see a trend of the transfer of Greek Catholics into the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.


"Our people turn to their pastors for explanations and they are interested in this question. We explain to them how we are going to build our relations with our Orthodox brethren. But as for somebody's changing his ecclesiastical identity and leaving our church—we are not seeing this."


According to the UGKTs head, Greek Catholics remember very well the martyrs and confessors of the church of communist times, who gave their life for the sake of the testimony of unity with the successor of the apostle Peter of our days, the pope of Rome.


"This unity is an integral part of our identity. After all, the totality of the Kievan Christian tradition is absolutely maintained and it flourishes within the bosom of our church," His Beatitude Sviatoslav emphasized. (tr. by PDS, posted 10 January 2019)



RIA Novosti, 10 January 2019


The patriarchate of Constantinople has at last signed the promised tomos and thereby finalized the process of granting autocephaly to the local church in Ukraine, which paradoxically turns out to be in isolation because of this. Not only has not one of the local Orthodox churches recognized it, but all of its foreign parishes have been torn away from it. However the main question is ahead: will the leaders of the "new church" reconcile themselves with this?


Expansion in Russia


The "spiritual leader" and "honorary patriarch" of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU), Filaret Denisenko, who constantly scares everybody with the "threat of the Russian church in Ukraine" (meaning the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church), prefers to keep silent about the fact that there are Russian churches within the Kiev patriarchate that he created in 1992. In 1994 he lured into his self-styled structure several parishes in Belgorod and Kursk oblasts, as well as in suburban Moscow. The aim of this "project" was to weaken the Moscow patriarchate from within.


However the plan failed miserably and now, with the change in power among the schismatics, the status of these Filaretite parishes in Russia is totally unclear. The issue is that the PTsU, according to the tomos as issued, is restricted to the territory of Ukraine. And all parishes of the Kiev patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church outside of its borders revert to the self-proclaimed "Mother-Church"—Constantinople.


"What will be the status of the Russian dioceses? Who knows? Of course, it is better not to be subordinate to another state, which lies several thousand kilometers from us. After all it is necessary to travel there and take some accounts. This is generally unpleasant. But Kiev is closer than Istanbul," Metropolitan Adrian Starina, head of the Bogorod diocese of the Kiev patriarchate, acknowledged for RIA Novosti.


"Significant objects"


If even one small parish in the Moscow suburb of Noginsk—and this is the entire Bogorod diocese—does not burn with the desire to adhere to the "Istanbul patriarch," what does one say about where more substantial parishes of the UPTsKP outside Ukraine will go? There are 44 parishes in western Europe, 15 churches in the U.S.A. and Canada, and about a dozen parishes in Australia.


"Filaret has continually traveled abroad, mainly to the States. Therefore the main share of schismatic parishes is within the Kiev patriarchate and the UAPTs has only a few," historian Vladislav Petrushko notes. Parishioners of these churches are the Ukrainian diaspora. This is what the tomos is talking about.


"I am not sure that these structures will move so easily under Constantinople. Judging by everything, Filaret will come up with some trick in order to prevent this. These are very influential parishes, connected first of all with the American and Canadian diaspora. For Filaret, this is not just income. He uses them for entre into the American establishment. As soon as Bartholomew's exarchs showed up in Ukraine, Filaret immediately rushed to the U.S.A.," the expert explains.


"Bad precedent"


Quite important for him was Poland, where, just according to official data, there are more than a million Ukrainian citizens. According to experts, the Kiev patriarchate has in recent years been very active there, despite the existence of a canonical Polish Orthodox Church. It was this church that was the first (after the RPTs) of all local Orthodox churches to publicly refuse to recognize the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. And not without reason.


"I have already spoken about canon law. Its violation is a bad precedent. It cannot be ruled out that in Poland, where more than a million Ukrainians live, a group of believers will appear for whom Filaret will try to organize his own parishes. . . . I recently heard that Right Sector has already considered the possibility of a visit to Poland by Epifany (the head of the PTsU—ed. note). We face chaos," Metropolitan of Poland Savva declared.


In the opinion of Vladislav Petrushko, besides a flush of nationalism, the Polish church can fully fear the creation on its territory of an exarchate of Constantinople. It already exists in neighboring Ukraine, along with stavropegia—churches directly subordinate to Istanbul. However, many do not like this, including the legalized schismatics.


To be sure, according to RIA Novosti's sources in church circles, the number of these stavropegia is still being discussed as before.


"If we speak about the situation as a whole, I think that Constantinople is conducting a policy aimed at weakening the very concept of 'autocephaly' and restructuring the entire Orthodox world. With the goal of strengthening the power of the patriarch of Constantinople, including on the territory of local churches, especially Slavic ones," Petrushko warns. (tr. by PDS, posted 10 January 2019)

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