The Future of the Ukraine and the Church

What is going to happen in the Ukraine? Some say that the Russian winter campaign in the Ukraine that is due to start in November will result at the very least in the provinces of Nikolaev and Odessa being taken by Russia, as foretold by Elder Jonah of Odessa (+ 2012). That might bring this nightmare conflict to a swift end. It will mean that the remaining Ukraine will become a landlocked state.

Others refer to another prophecy of Elder Jonah of Odessa that there will be a ‘bloody Easter (= 2022?), a hungry Easter (2023?) and a victorious Easter (2024?). It means that the war will continue for another eighteen months yet. Others refer to the prophecy of St Seraphim of Sarov: ‘Towards that time the bishops will become so impious that in their impiety they will surpass the Greek bishops of the time of Theodosius the Younger (401-450), so that they will no longer believe in the main dogmas of the Christian Faith’.

We should recall that all prophecies are conditional, dependent on repentance – or lack of it.

Whatever happens in the war in the Ukraine, and there are many predictions, it is clear that the canonical Church in the Ukraine will have to become autocephalous. Russia can, and we believe will, win militarily, but that does not solve the pastoral problem. No mother, father, aunt, uncle, wife, sister, brother, children of a dead Ukrainian soldier will frequent a church where the Russian Patriarch is commemorated. Many in the Russian Church are in denial about this: we are not.

At the mere mention of the name Patriarch Kyrill in churches in the Ukraine or here, people walk out. Russian Orthodox churches, Moscow or ROCOR, all over Western Europe, as in the Ukraine itself, have lost a great many of their flock. If we had been under the Russian Church (by Divine Providence we got out exactly eight days before the Special Operation began), we would certainly have lost half of our parish. At present, under the Zelensky government, any Ukrainian priest who concelebrates with the Russia Church in Western Europe (either branch) faces five years of prison on his return for ‘collaborating with the enemy’.

In the Moscow Patriarchate in Lithuania four priests have been defrocked for not commemorating Patriarch Kyrill. And yet in the Western European Archdiocese of the Moscow Patriarchate, priests are free to commemorate the Russian Patriarch or not. Patriarch Kyrill is banned by sanction from visiting Canada, the UK, Lithuania and of course the Ukraine. He would not be welcome anywhere else in Europe outside the Russian Federation and Belarus. If he cannot visit his churches, then independence must be granted to them.

It has come to our knowledge that there are those in Russia who are praying that Metr Onufry of Kiev will become the next Patriarch of Russia. No doubt his first act will be to grant the Ukrainian Orthodox Church autocephaly. The same is surely inevitable in the Baltic States (today the Latvian Orthodox Church has officially asked Patriarch Kyrill to grant it autocephaly). We think that autocephaly, or at least autonomy, will have to be given to the Russian Orthodox churches in Moldova and also in Western Europe. As for the Moscow parishes in Northern America, they have no bishop and so no future at present. Here too a solution is required.

The situation is chaotic, Nothing, indeed, will be as it was before.