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Old 4th December 2017, 07:22
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Judaism and Russian OrthodoxyA Russian cleric’s turn of phrase evokes some dark memories - Keeping the lid on Russian anti-Semitism
THE ECONOMIST Erasmus Dec 3rd 2017

THIS has been a roller-coaster week in relations between Judaism and Russian Orthodoxy. It started when one of the country’s best-known clerics, a man regarded as personally close to President Vladimir Putin, dropped a verbal bombshell while making an announcement about the hitherto mysterious workings of a church panel which is tasked with investigating the apparent remains of the last tsar and his family, killed by firing-squad in July 1918.

“A large share of the church commission members have no doubt that the murder was ritual,” declared Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov, who is chairman of the panel and abbot of a well-known monastery in central Moscow. Having studied at film school and penned a best-selling work on monastic life in the Soviet Union, the bishop is considered a skilled communicator and his public words are mulled carefully. At a time of mounting tension over the limits of cultural freedom in Russia, Bishop Tikhon is also perceived as an influential force on the conservative side.

Although he made no reference to Judaism, any historically-conscious Russian would instantly link the expression “ritual murder” with some of the darkest episodes in Jewish-Christian relations, in Russia and elsewhere, when anti-Semitic pogroms were triggered by absurd rumours that Jews had murdered Christians in order to use their blood for some ritual function. In the Russian empire, such craziness persisted until the very eve of the revolution: in 1913, a Jew called Mendel Beilis was put on trial in Kiev for “ritual murder” against a background of public hysteria whipped up by ultra-nationalist groups. A Catholic priest testified for the prosecution while Orthodox Christian theologians, along with Moscow's leading rabbis, spoke for the defence. Beilis was acquitted, but the case highlighted Russian anti-Semitism.

As might have been expected, the bishop’s odd use of words prompted strong protests from Jewish groups, in Moscow and beyond. A spokesman for Russia’s Federation of Jewish communities declared: “This [turn of phrase] comes across as absolute barbarism for a whole series of reasons.”

As news of the cleric’s words spread through the Western and Israeli media, Bishop Tikhon indignantly denied that there was anything anti-Semitic about the suggestion that the murder of the tsar and his family was a ritual killing. On the contrary, the slaying of the royals was a ritualistic act from the point of view not of any religion but of atheist, Bolshevik ideology. “The murder of the tsar and his family, putting the final stamp on the existence of the...300-year-old Romanov dynasty was a matter bearing very special, ritualistic. symbolic meaning for many,” as the bishop put it.

Jewish leaders were somewhat reassured by this clarification but they stuck to their view that because of its loaded history, the use of the expression “ritual murder” had been unacceptable.

It is hard to over-state the importance of this episode as a test of the cultural and moral atmosphere in Mr Putin’s Russia. Jewish-Russian Orthodox relations have been in a delicate but broadly improving state since the fall of communism. In 1991 Patriarch Alexy, who was then the newly appointed head of the Russian Orthodox church, made a landmark speech in New York to an audience of rabbis, which was hailed as a sincere effort to exorcise the ghost of anti-Semitism from his church. Beginning with the words “Shalom to you in the name of the God of love and peace”, he stressed all the commonalities between Orthodox Christianity and Judaism, which he described as “two moments in the same divine-human religion”. Although his speech was condemned by traditionalists in Russia and the diaspora, Patriarch Alexy broadly adhered to this line until his death in 2008, and his successor Patriarch Kirill has done likewise. It was partly under Alexy’s influence that the Russian state accorded special recognition to four “traditional” religions, Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism. The result has been a relatively benign phase in the long and troubled history of Jewish life in Russia.

Meanwhile Mr Putin, even while cultivating a Russian nationalist ideology which often has an anti-Semitic edge, has hitherto been very careful to nip in the bud any open resurgence of anti-Jewish feeling. At one point, during recent arguments over the stewardship of St Isaac’s Cathedral in St Petersburg, advocates of handing the building over to the church began using anti-Semitic taunts against those who favoured keeping it as a state museum. But this line of argument was firmly slapped down by the government after Israeli and Jewish protests.

For at least 48 hours this week, after the bishop came out with his “ritual murder” remarks, it appeared that the taboo on using language offensive to Jews in high public places might have been lifted. His subsequent clarification (albeit unaccompanied by any hint of regret or contrition over the offence caused) helped to alleviate those worries.

But people will continue to watch very carefully what the Russian authorities, wordly and spiritual, do and say in the eight months leading up the 100th anniversary of the royal executions. The style of these commemorations will amount to a hugely important message about how the country’s current rulers view Russia’s past, and consequently about how they see the nation’s future. In the White Russian diaspora which kept the memory of the Romanovs alive, the story of the executions was often told with an anti-Semitic tinge. That helps to explain the startling effect of the bishop’s words.
https://www.economist.com/blogs/eras...sian-orthodoxy
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Old 5th December 2017, 07:39
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Moscow Patriarchate’s moves strengthen Russia’s hand in Ukraine, Kryuchkov says
EUROMAIDAN PRESS 2017/12/05 - 10:55

The decision of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC MP) to allow the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP) some greater flexibility and to begin talks with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC KP) have two serious consequences, Igor Kryuchkov says.

On the one hand, the two deepen the split of world Orthodoxy, already riven by feuds among its various branches, the religious affairs commentator says; but on the other “they open the possibility for strengthening the influence of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine,” a goal the Kremlin very much seeks.

The first decision, to allow the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate to administer its affairs from Kyiv did not change anything, ROC MP sources say. Instead, this decision was taken so that the church in Ukraine would not fall afoul of Kyiv’s hostility to any organization “’with an administrative center in the aggressor country.’”

And thus while it attracted a fair amount of attention and overreading – for a discussion of that, see Moscow Patriarchate hasn’t ‘freed’ Ukrainian Orthodox Church but rather imposed new limits – it is the second action by the ROC MP hierarchs that is far more important not only in Ukraine where it puts Orthodox there in a difficult position but in the Orthodox world more generally.

The relationship between the ROC MP and the UOC KP is fraught because the latter demands recognition of itself as an autocephalous church, and the ROC MP, committed to the principle of its self-proclaimed “canonical territory” across the entire former Soviet space is not prepared to take that step.

But the announcement by the hierarchs of the ROC MP that the Moscow church is now prepared to enter into talks with the UOC KP represents a breakthrough because the UOC KP is interested in only one thing: recognition of its self-standing status in the world of Orthodox Christianity.

Russian news agencies say, Kryuchkov continues, that the ROC MP intends to establish a special commission headed by Metropolitan Ilarion, the head of the Moscow patriarchate’s department of external relations. It raises the stakes in Ukraine, given that the UOC KP has indicated that it will never rejoin the ROC MP as Moscow has demanded.

As a source close to the UOC KP points out, there is no “generally recognized procedure for recognizing a new autocephaly” within Orthodoxy. On the one hand, some think that it can be offered only by the Mother Church, in this case, the ROC MP, which at least up to now has been unwilling to do that.

And on the other, some believe that it can be extended by the Constantinople patriarchate. Those who believe that placed great hopes in the Crete meeting last summer that was supposed to attract all Orthodox patriarchates but which in fact didn’t: The Bulgarian, Georgian and Antioch ones refused from the outset, and the ROC MP subsequently joined them.

The ROC MP blamed Constantinople for the failure of this meeting, “the first in 300 years,” Kryuchkov says. The real problem is that Constantinople views itself as the monarch among Orthodox while other Orthodox churches, including the Russian one view themselves as equal in standing.

The decisions this past week in Moscow, however, raise some important issues. By giving the UOC MP administrative independence at least nominally, the ROC MP has “strengthened the trend toward the differential of the positions of Constantinople and Moscow.” That risks leading to new conflicts among the Orthodox churches and thus Orthodox powers.

But the ROC MP has also “raised the political stakes in Ukraine. Having strengthened the autonomy of its Ukrainian branch, the ROC MP has put before the Kyiv authorities a hard choice: either to continue the struggle with influence in two Orthodox bishoprics, both of which are now [formally] subordinate to Kyiv or change its approach, which will lead only to a deepening of a religious split.”

And at the same time, because the ROC MP would like to emphasize its equality with Constantinople, Moscow may be quite pleased to at least discuss some kind of approach to autocephaly for the Orthodox in Ukraine, thus showing that it can do that “without an agreement with Constantinople.”
Moscow Patriarchate’s moves strengthen Russia’s hand in Ukraine, Kryuchkov says | EUROMAIDAN PRESSEuromaidan Press |
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Old 20th December 2017, 14:26
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The main Christmas tree in Ukraine was lit up in Kyiv.

Ukraine's main Christmas tree lit up for the winter marathon -Euromaidan Press |
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Old 11th January 2018, 23:50
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Priest of UOC of Moscow Patriarchate quits after being bullied for speaking Ukrainian - A Zaporizhia-based Orthodox priest Anatoliy (Revtov) who was part of a church reporting to Moscow (the Moscow Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church) spurred a scandal at the meeting of the municipal diocese. Following the spat came his decision to quit the UOC-MP, he told Depo.Zaporizhia.

UNIAN 13:20, 11 January 2018

https://images.unian.net/photos/2018...64926-5533.jpg

The priest’s sharp comments in social networks criticizing the pro-Russian course of the UOC-MP were in the focus of discussion. Anatoliy was not allowed to voice his position. He was hushed, including for speaking Ukrainian, Depo.Zaporizhia reports.

"People started shouting at me: ‘Speak Russian!’ And I tell them: ‘Ukrainian is my official language, and then the secretary of the diocese runs up to me and says: ‘When you came to us four years ago, you spoke Russian. And I go: ‘But then your country attacked my country. People change, and I have changed, too.’ People kept shouting and pushing… I thought they might even beat me," the priest said. He said he left the meeting immediately.

Anatoliy said he firmly decided that he could not further serve in the UOC of Moscow Patriarchate. His pro-Ukrainian views have long led to misunderstandings with other members of the diocese. The priests sometimes expressed dissatisfaction with Anatoliy's trips to visit the Ukrainian military deployed in Donbas and his assistance to volunteers. The Jan 10 meeting was "the last straw", he said.

UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/society/23406...ukrainian.html
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Old 12th January 2018, 17:26
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Can anything be done in Ukraine with the so-called “canonical” Moscow Patriarchate?
EUROMAIDAN PRESS Radio Liberty Petro Kralyuk 2018/01/12 - 16:17

http://i0.wp.com/euromaidanpress.com...ure.jpg?w=1023
Occupied Crimea. Primate Platon of the UOC-MP blesses the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system “Triumph”, deployed in Feodosiya, January 14, 2017

The tragic death of an infant in Zaporizhzhya early January, and the refusal of Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MC) priests to bury and pray for him, has caused considerable outcry in Ukrainian society.

Similar acts committed by clerics of the UOC-MP – in fact a branch of the Russian Orthodox Church – have long been the norm in Ukraine. Referring to Church Canons, they refuse to conduct marriages or hear the confessions of persons they refer to as “rozkolnyky” (schismatics). There have also been cases when these priests have shown a negative attitude towards conducting burial services or prayers for Ukrainian soldiers who were killed in Eastern Ukraine.

Church Canons or “canonically correct”

It’s generally useless to try to discuss Church Canons with representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate. Was it “canonically correct”, for example, that Jonah became the Metropolitan of Kyiv in 1448, and did not even reside in Kyiv, but in Moscow? Moreover, he was also the first Metropolitan in Moscow to be appointed without the approval of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople as had been the norm. This signaled the beginning of the de facto independence (autocephaly) of the Moscow part of the Russian Church.

Let’s push it further… How canonical was the creation of the Moscow Patriarchate in 1589? How canonical was the subordination of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine to Moscow in 1686? How canonical was the abolition of the Patriarchate in Russia by Peter the Great and the establishment of a Synodal Church here in Ukraine? And finally, how canonical was the “restoration” of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USSR in 1943, officially sanctioned by Joseph Stalin?

Let’s look at some recent examples. Was it canonical to hold the Kharkiv Council of the UOC-MP in 1992 and elect Volodymyr Sabodan Metropolitan of Kyiv, who, in fact, did not even attend the council?

The history of the Russian Orthodox Church shows that Orthodox Church Canons are systematically ignored and violated. This also affects its branch – the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is subordinated to the Moscow Patriarchate. Nevertheless, the clerics of these churches regularly point to their canonical correctness. They maintain that they are the “only recognized” church, and that theirs is the one true faith. Unfortunately, many people fall for such cheap propaganda. In fact, the canonical correctness of the Moscow Patriarchate is situational. When necessary, a certain canon is remembered. When another situation arises, it’s conveniently forgotten. Sometimes, Church Canons are interpreted arbitrarily by UOC-MP clerics, who lack both general and theological education. Just listen to the language used in sermons and speeches by its current Primate, Metropolitan Onufriy (Berezovsky) and you’ll come to your own conclusions.

In fact, what is the actual stature of Bishop Luka of Zaporizhzhya and Melitopol, a priest who refused to pray for and bury an innocent child? This priest, who spoke loudly against celebrating Orthodox Christmas on December 25, travelled abroad to take part in Xmas celebrations in Hungary. People who have an understanding of Church Canons find it strange to read the cynical justifications of Father Luka’s actions by official UOC-MP structures, in particular the Zaporizhzhia diocese. In fact, the latter is one of the greatest propagandists of the “Russian world” in Ukraine, so it’s not at all surprising that such a tragic affair arose in its midst.

In principle, it’s clear why low-educated clerics are placed in high hierarchical positions in Ukraine by the Moscow Patriarchate… it makes them so much easier to manage and manipulate, and they will obey all orders, without giving them too much thought.

Will the authorities have enough political will to resolve the Orthodox issue?

It’s not necessary to dwell on the fact that the UOC-MP is not only a church but also a political institution that carries out the Kremlin’s orders and conducts a destructive policy in Ukraine. This is clearly evident in the attitude of the UOC-MP to the war in Eastern Ukraine.

Like the Kremlin, UOC-MP leaders maintain that this is not Russian aggression, but a civil war. For many years, the UOC-MP has encouraged dissension and caused separation within the Ukrainian Church, cultivating hatred for the “schismatics”, especially supporters of the UOC-KP (Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate). This rift has even led to conflicts and enmity within families. Some radical supporters of the “canonical” UOC-MP urge believers to refuse vaccinations, identification codes, etc. The question is whether such things are actually prescribed in Church Canons…

The UOC-MP has become a major issue in Ukrainian society. However, this situation was largely implemented by the Ukrainian authorities and the tacit approval of the Ukrainian community as a whole. In fact, it’s only with the support of the state and relevant authorities that the number of communities, monasteries, and other institutions of the UOC-MP have grown and flourished throughout Ukraine! After all, weren’t government authorities responsible for registering these structures without any questions raised? Didn’t they close their eyes to certain unlawful activities? Didn’t they give them land, and even money? This was especially true during the presidency of Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yanukovych. After all, we all know that certain well-known businessmen continue to attend services at UOC-MP churches and give generous contributions to “canonical” UOC-MP priests.

It’s high time for our government to think about resolving the Orthodox issue in Ukraine. The very presence of a foreign church entity on Ukrainian soil needs to be responsibly reviewed by government authorities. This is of particular importance when that church entity, the Moscow Patriarchate, actively supports terrorism, refuses to bury Ukrainian soldiers killed on the frontlines, and agitates the faithful to hate a legitimately elected Ukrainian president and parliament.

Unfortunately, there’s is no sign of any activity, achievement, or even a clear plan. Of course, ideally, a single Ukrainian independent Orthodox church should be created, but that’s just a pipe dream. However, we could start by putting the clergy of the UOC-MP in its place by using specific legal mechanisms. This is a realistic plan… What is required is the political will to engage in resolving these issues. Can anything be done in Ukraine with the so-called “canonical” Moscow Patriarchate? -Euromaidan Press |
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Old 13th January 2018, 17:11
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Analysis: Why will Pope Francis visit the Ukrainian parish in Rome?
CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY Andrea Gagliarducci

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/i..._CNA.jpg?w=870
Basilica of Saint Sophia. Credit: Andrea Gagliarducci/CNA

Vatican City, Jan 12, 2018 / 02:00 pm (CNA).- On Jan. 28, Pope Francis will visit the Basilica of Saint Sophia, the Greek Catholic Ukrainian parish in Rome. While there, he will pray in front of the tomb of Bishop Stefan Czmil, who served as a missionary to Argentina, and was a childhood mentor to the young Jorge Bergoglio.

The news of the visit was released today by the Holy See Press Office. Beyond the personal attachment the Pope has for Bishop Czmil, the visit is meant as a pastoral visit and a sign of closeness to the Ukrainian Catholics living in Italy, and in general abroad.

It will be a short visit: the Pope will meet with the Greek Catholic Ukrainian community in the Basilica, and will speak after an address delivered by the Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk. After the speech, he will go down to the crypt, for a moment of prayer in front of the tomb of Bishop Czmil, as well as in front of the tomb of Cardinal Slipyi.

St. Sophia was modeled on the designs of medieval Ukrainian churches in Kiev, and is home to about 14,000 Ukrainians living in the Diocese of Rome. Its symbolic importance goes far beyond the Diocese of Rome.

The Church was built in 1963, thanks to a collection launched by the then Archeparch Josip Slipyi, who went to Rome after he had spent 18 years in Soviet prison camps in Siberia and Mordovia.

The basilica has, for decades, been considered the “home” for Greek Catholic Ukrainians sent into diaspora during Soviet rule.

In 1946, the Soviet authorities convoked a false “Synod” of Lviv, revoking the Union of Brest - the Council that put the Greek Catholic Church in union with Rome – and forced Ukrainian Catholic parishes and eparchies into the hierarchical structure of the Orthodox Church. The Ukrainian Catholic Church survived clandestinely and in exile.

After the “Synod,” the church built in Rome was a welcome point of unity and solidarity for the members of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Saint Sophia was consecrated Sep. 28, 1969 by Blessed Paul VI. The Pope wanted to concretely show his own solidarity with the persecuted Church of the Ukraine. Years earlier, in 1963, Paul VI made the decision to move the body of Saint Josaphat, the patron of the Ukrainian Church, under the Altar of Confession in St. Peter’s Basilica, to symbolize the union between Eastern and Roman rites.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is the biggest of the sui iuris Catholic Churches, the eastern ritual Churches in full communion with Rome.

Pope Francis’ presence will strengthen this union with Rome. According to Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Greek Catholic Ukrainian Community, Pope Francis’ visit is “a sign of solidarity with the Ukrainian people, and a way to show closeness with Ukrainian migrants to Italy, who consider Saint Sophia’s Basilica their home, and a link to their native land.”

In fact, Pope Francis’ visit might be considered far more than that, considering the political situation in the Ukraine.

During a speech delivered Jan. 8 to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, the Pope made a clear mention of the Ukrainian conflict.

The Pope said that “a shared commitment to rebuilding bridges is also urgent in Ukraine,” as “the year just ended reaped new victims in the conflict that afflicts the country, continuing to bring great suffering to the population, particularly to families who live in areas affected by the war and have lost their loved ones, not infrequently the elderly and children.”

The “forgotten conflict” of the Ukraine has been one of the main focus of the Holy See diplomacy so far. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of State, visited the country in June 2016. His reports were decisive to launch the program “The Pope for Ukraine,” which began with an extraordinary collection Apr. 24, 2016.

The Holy See has kept a balanced position between the Ukrainian and Russian claims over the territory of Crimea, according to Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of external relations in the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow. For this reason, the Pope has not yet scheduled a trip to Ukraine, although Eastern Europe is clearly at the center of the Pope’s attention – the Pope will likely travel to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in Sep. 2018.

For all of these reasons, Pope Francis’ visit to the basilica of St. Sophia in Rome will also be a sign of pastoral concern toward the Ukrainian people during a time of national difficulty. It is not a political visit, nor it should be treated as one. However, the Pope will give strength to the Ukrainian population who endured diaspora, and to those who face a continuing conflict over eastern Ukraine.

The Pope knows the history of the Greek Catholic Ukrainians thanks to Bishop Czmil, the first Ukrainian Salesian sent on a mission to Argentina. Czmil was very important to Pope Francis, as the Pope himself explained Nov. 9, 2017 to the students of the College St. Josaphat, the Ukrainian seminary in Rome.

The Pope said that “it was Fr. Czmil who taught me how to participate in the Ukrainian rite of the Mass, opening me to a different liturgy.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/n...-in-rome-80559
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Old 17th January 2018, 05:05
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Chaplain Mykola: For patriotic priests, the “front line” represents all of Ukraine!
EUROMAIDAN PRESS Bohdana Kostiuk (Radio Free Europe) 2018/01/13 - 16:04

The Christmas period is a busy time for military chaplains serving Mass and the sacraments to thousands of Ukrainian soldiers deployed in Eastern Ukraine. Chaplain Mykola Medynsky, representing the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), is spending his fourth Christmas with the soldiers and their relatives. We talked to Father Mykola about religion, chaplaincy, and the spiritual defense of Ukraine.

– The number one mission for anyone who loves Ukraine is protecting Ukraine, but not only in the military sphere. I’m talking about the spiritual defense of our country, because Russia is conducting a hybrid war against all of us, spreading propaganda about the “values” of the “Russian world”. We must fight them for the sake of our fellow citizens and prevent the so-called “values” proposed and spread by the Kremlin from taking root in Ukrainian society.

We’ve also run into a lot of hypocrisy propagated by the “Russian world” in Western Ukraine, even in Kolomyya! I’m not accusing all the priests of UOC-MP parishes of spreading anti-Ukrainian ideology, but, unfortunately, too many of them support the ideas disseminated by Russian imperial Orthodoxy. So, for any Ukrainian priest who’s a patriot, the “front line” represents all of Ukraine!

– But do you have any proof of Kremlin’s support to the UOC-MP?

– Yes, unfortunately we do. We often hear these priests say: “We don’t get involved in politics!”, but their sermons and actions testify to the opposite. In addition, we know that some clerics of the UOC-MP have been working with politicians who support the Kremlin, and others openly sympathize with communist ideals, ever since the Soviet era. The Russian church has always served the Russian empire, and virtually nothing has changed since those days.

However, the psychology and ideology of peoples – neighbours of Russia – who chose to liberate themselves from Russian influence, including the church, have changed. I hope and pray that this war will end… and Ukraine will win.

– How can you fight this?

– My chaplain friends and I, we want and offer mutual agreement and understanding. We talk about it during Mass, and tell our people what’s really happening in Eastern Ukraine. There are many soldiers in my congregation in Kolomyya. I try to support them and their families. It’s important for Ukrainian soldiers serving along the front lines to have this sense of understanding… sometimes, when I read prayers or offer Mass, I see that not only Christians from different confessions, but even non-believers and Muslims, pray with me. They stand quietly in a corner and talk to the Lord according to their religious practices.

The boys pray for their comrades-in-arms and ask Our Lord to give them spiritual and physical strength to defend their country. In general, front-line soldiers mostly pray for their mates (those who are fighting along the contact line and those who’ve been wounded or amputated), for victory, for Ukraine, for their families, and for their children to grow up in a peaceful country, and for a brighter future in their Ukraine. This is the moment that unites us all, a moment of true love and togetherness.

– How do you feel about celebrating the Nativity of Christ on December 25 and January 7, according to the new law?

– As I said earlier in another interview, this is a good solution as it balances the rights of the faithful of different religious denominations and unifies all Ukrainians. This is also important for the Church, as it opens the doors to an interesting ecumenical dialogue, and encourages priests and faithful of different denominations to communicate with one another.

– In December, you held master classes with students in Kyiv, and also organized an exhibition. What are your impressions?

– First, we organized an art exhibition in Kyiv called “ æ ” (From destruction to life). The exhibit included my own artwork, war photos by Ivanna-Kalyna Motyk and frontline films shot by director Serhiy Lysenko. When you see the photos and the documentary film, you share the soldier’s spirit, you perceive this spirit, and also see the war from the inside, what’s happening in this “grey zone”. I can see how people change when they see war photos or documentary scenes: they feel somewhat closer to our defenders, to what’s really happening in the war zone. For some, it’s not a very pleasant feeling. The war isn’t something completely alien anymore. The war isn’t as far as you may think… Such exhibitions and workshops with young kids, displaying shells, shrapnel, for example, creating paintings on these killer weapons, drawing images of peace… this is an important educational moment.

You see, Kremlin propaganda tries to convince the whole world that Ukrainians are the “underdogs” that we have no historic background, no cultural traditions…. But, that’s an outright lie! We’re the descendants of an ancient people that have not lost their memory or nationhood. This memory is encrypted in patterns and ornaments of Ukrainian embroidery, pysankas, art, etc. I transfer it to my own artwork and teach it to kids whenever I have a free moment.

Father Mykola talks about the exhibition “ æ ” (From destruction to life), in Ukrainian (2.06 min)
https://youtu.be/vZ5DzWg1GOE

Chaplain Mykola: For patriotic priests, the "front line" represents all of Ukraine! -Euromaidan Press |
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