23 July 14:12
Author: Elena Konstantinova
The vicar of the Odesa Eparchy believes that Patriarch Kirill, “due to personal ambitions, lost the UOC and other Churches in the countries of ‘Holy Rus'”.
On July 23, 2023, after the missile shelling of the Transfiguration Cathedral in Odesa, Archbishop Victor (Bykov) of Artsyz, the vicar of the Odesa Eparchy of the UOC, addressed Patriarch Kirill and all members of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. His letter was published on the Facebook page of the St. Elias Monastery.
At the beginning of his address to Patriarch Kirill, Bishop Victor reminded that “at the Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on 27.05.2022, a decision was made that we, led by our Primate of the UOC, completely come out of Your submission” and stressed that the Patriarch has repeatedly spoken about the unity of “Holy Rus”, which he “completely destroys with his blessing and actions”.
The bishop also believes that it is precisely the “personal blessing” of the Patriarch that has led to the Russian military committing lawlessness and open warfare on the sovereign territory of the Ukrainian State.
“In my opinion, you seem to have forgotten that, just like in Russia, in Ukraine, there are (were) your children, whom you consider as such, and you have blessed those who are now killing them,” the bishop writes.
He noted that to his immense disappointment, during the last Bishops’ Conference in Moscow, Patriarch Kirill “did not say a single word about the need to stop this Cain-like war, to cease these killings and the destruction of peaceful cities and villages, to stop the bloodshed.”
“Your bishops and priests sanctify and bless tanks and rockets that bomb our peaceful cities,” the archbishop reminded.
“Today, when I arrived at the Transfiguration Cathedral of Odesa after the curfew, I saw that the ‘blessed’ missile from Russia flew right into the altar of the temple, into the Holy of Holies. I realized that there is nothing left in common between the understanding of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and yours,” Bishop Victor believes.
He is convinced that Patriarch Kirill “due to personal ambitions, has lost the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and other Churches in the countries of ‘Holy Rus.'”
“The words ‘Great Lord and Father’ do not come to my tongue when addressing you, for you are a father who has sacrificed his children to destruction and killings,” the archbishop writes.
The hierarch emphasized that for UOC believers, their “loving father and Abba” is Metropolitan Onuphry, who was elected by the Council of the UOC, and he demanded “not to ignore our Primate, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kyiv and All Ukraine”.
The bishop also requested the Patriarch “not to discredit our Church and not to destroy it with your own blessing”.
“As of today, neither you nor your representatives, such as Metropolitan Leonid or Archpriest Andrey Novikov, who fled the Odesa Eparchy, supposedly persecuted by the SBU, are doing anything to support us as your brothers,” the hierarch says.
Moreover, he believes that these people, “in their internet posts, only tarnish the name of the Holy Church without showing any respect for its Primate and the voice of our Ukrainian Church”.
“How can you call us, faithful children of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and its Holy Council those who ‘follow the path of schism’?” Archbishop Victor asks, continuing that this schism, mentioned by Patriarch Kirill and his clerics, is voiced by individuals such as Metropolitan Leonid and Archpriest Andrey Novikov.
“Today, you and all your followers are doing everything to destroy the UOC within Ukraine. There is no understanding of oikonomia in relation to the UOC,” the hierarch writes.
“Today, we (speaking on behalf of many hierarchs of the UOC) condemn this senseless aggression of Russia against our Independent country. We condemn the barbaric seizures of our eparchies in the East and South of Ukraine. We condemn the repressions and persecutions carried out by your authorities in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine!” declared the hierarch.
He demanded, “Stay away from our Church, our hierarchs, and our Primate,” emphasizing that “we have our own path, which was chosen by the Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church”.
“Sincerely, I ask you to stop. Every missile that comes to Ukraine’s territory is perceived by its inhabitants as your ‘blessing’ to your children,” concluded the vicar of the Odesa Eparchy, calling himself a “faithful obedient servant of his Primate”.
As earlier reported, His Beatitude expressed condolences regarding the shelling of Odesa.