On March 1, five Ukrainian dioceses of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) in eastern Ukraine officially refused to mention Moscow Patriarch Kirill during a service. The decisions are published on their official websites. These are the dioceses of Sumy, Rivne, Mukachevo, Vladimir-Volyn and Zhytomyr, which have suffered greatly from the aggression of Putin’s army.
This is supposed to be with the consent of Metropolitan Onufriy of Kiev.
Earlier yesterday, several dozen clerics from the Sumy diocese sent a letter to their bishop announcing their decision that their pastoral conscience no longer allowed them to mention the Russian patriarch as their superior. Today the Sumy miter. Eulogius, who was known for his strong pro-Russian positions, joined them. Its decision reads: “Condemning Russia’s bloody aggression against the Ukrainian state and the Ukrainian people, taking into account the address of our clergy and laity on February 28, 2022, I bless the end of the prayerful mention of the Moscow Patriarch in Sumy temples and monasteries. Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church ”.
Here is the full text of the address:
“On February 24, 2022, the armed forces of the Russian Federation insidiously invaded the territory of Ukraine without declaring war. The Sumy diocese, which covers part of the Sumy region, is border, and that is why one of the most terrible blows of the Russian army fell on the territory of our diocese. Residential areas are being attacked, innocent civilians are being killed.
In this terrible moment of trials, we express our full support for our homeland, Ukraine. We offer prayers for the Ukrainian authorities, for the armed forces of Ukraine and for all those who stood up today in defense of Ukraine with weapons in their hands. We are ready to provide the Ukrainian army with all possible assistance. We also support the suffering civilian population and call on all our parishioners to support with acts of mercy all the victims: those who were left homeless; those in need of food and sustenance; those in need of medical care. Everything we do for our neighbors, we do for Christ Himself, fulfilling His commandment to love.
On the first day of the war, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufriy of Kiev and all of Ukraine issued an appeal to the flock, and also recorded a video address in which he unequivocally condemned the aggressive actions of the Russian Federation, fully supported the Ukrainian armed forces and called on the Russian leadership to stop this bloody madness. . We fully sympathize with His Beatitude and sincerely thank Him for these important addresses filled with pastoral wisdom and responsibility.
At the same time, we are forced to admit with particular sorrow that in these terrible days, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia did not condemn in any way the aggressive actions of the Russian authorities. In his address of February 24, 2022, Patriarch Kirill only called on “all parties to the conflict to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties.” So the war itself is not condemned here. The insidious invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army has not only not been condemned, but has not even been named.
On Sunday, February 27, during a service in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Pat. Cyril read a prayer for Ukraine, in which he called what is happening in our country internal “quarrels and conflicts.” And in a speech after the Liturgy Patr. Cyril literally said: “God, do not allow the current political situation in fraternal Ukraine, which is close to us, to be used for the evil forces that have always fought against the unity of Russia and the Russian Church to take over.” Again, these words do not condemn the aggression committed against our country. Moreover, these words give reason to think that the patriarch fully approves of forcing Ukraine to relinquish state sovereignty and forcibly join Russia.
Despite the fact that His Holiness Patriarch Kirill has been saying for many years that Ukraine is an area of his pastoral responsibility, today we do not see any attempts on his part to protect the suffering people of Ukraine.
In this difficult situation, guided by the dictates of our pastoral conscience, we decided to stop mentioning the Moscow Patriarch of Worship. This decision was dictated by the demands of our flock, which, alas, no longer wants to hear the name of the patr. Cyril in our temples.
We especially want to emphasize that this step does not contain any canonical violations. According to the prescriptions of the church canons, the priest is obliged to mention only his ruling bishop. We continue to mention at the services His Beatitude Onuphrius, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine, and His Eminence Eulogius, Metropolitan of Sumy and Akhtyr. We remain part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. It is known that there are parishes in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that have not mentioned the name of the Moscow Patriarch for many years, and no one accuses them of that.
We address this appeal primarily to our fellow clergy, the clergy of the Diocese of Sumy:
Dear fathers! Think and join us!
We would especially like to address our ruling Bishop, Metropolitan Eulogius of Sumy and Akhtyr:
Your Eminence, dear Bishop Eulogius!
We would like to inform you that we, the undersigned clergy of the Sumy Diocese, condemning the criminal and brutal war started by the Russian Federation against Ukraine and the Ukrainian people and its real support by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, henceforth stop mentioning the name of the Moscow Patriarch. worship services.
At the same time, we remain faithful to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and express our love and full support for our Primate, His Beatitude Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Onufriy. We also express our love and support for our suffering people, our valiant soldiers, our Ukraine. “
The laconic message on the social network of the famous Ukrainian bishop Jonah (Cherepanov), abbot of the Holy Trinity Monastery in Kyiv, also received a strong response today. Ep. Jonah is the vicar of the Kiev diocese, known for his missionary work among Ukrainian youth, heads the Synod’s Department for Youth Work of the UOC (MP), and is very popular in Russia:
“For my friends from Russia.
Yes, we have a war. Russia invaded Ukraine. Civilians are dying, children are being killed, our temples are being burned. We did not wait for any “liberators”, nor did we call them. The people are unanimous and united in their attitude to this terrible aggression. I don’t know what else to say. “That’s the truth.”
No Ukrainian bishop or priest has supported the Russian invasion, and all official church statements speak unequivocally of war and brutal aggression against the Ukrainian Christian people.