Moral Reasons for Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephaly: No more Russian Oppression of Believers

In recent years attempts have been made by the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill to take over the entire Monastery of the Caves in Kyiv, Ukraine. The video clip posted on this blog was a social justice project co-authored by Julian Hayda and myself during my second year of graduate studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California. The purpose of the video was to expose the secret corporate theft of property by the Russian Orthodox Church.  Although the film focuses on the Artists’ Workshop, other buildings were at risk. After a battle to save the Infectious Diseases Hospital that was built on the monastery’s territory over 100 years ago, the facility was evicted and the patients were at risk of death due to lack of treatment. Most patients were being treated for HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis.

Imagine Orthodox Monks colluding with Russians and Moscow’s FSB to destroy the lives of Ukraine’s citizens and the culture of its people.  The video needs to be updated (from 2012) but please take a look:

Patient Protests in the past:

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill has had many opportunities to confront his clerics with corruption, money laundering, and ostentatious living. Instead of prophetically teaching his faithful to feed the hungry (not just physically, but also spiritually), he colludes with Vladimir Putin in his politics of oppression, murder, invading other countries, and genocidal acts. Just remember the murders of journalists, political opponents, and dissidents.

Why such an accusation? The head of the Russian Orthodox Church is called to set a higher moral standard. Higher than anyone else in the country. He has never confronted Putin, and by not doing so he is silently supporting a tyrant. Certainly, he needs Putin’s and his kleptocrat’s money, and that may be the reason for his paralysis. Recently, it was announced that Patriarch Kirill plans to build a Russian “Vatican” outside of Moscow. His own personal wealth is huge and has been attributed to selling cigarettes without paying taxes on them.

Russians should read the history of their church. The murder of Metropolitan Phillip of Moscow illustrates the price paid for confronting the Czar, in this instance Ivan the Terrible. Phillip confronted the Czar by reminding him that no one can serve two masters. It is said that Ivan the Terrible tried to reform and recant his sin of massacring the masses, but eventually had Phillip arrested and murdered for not giving him a blessing to engage in another massacre. Proclaimed a martyr and saint, he remains an example of a fearless bishop who openly confronted a tyrant.


Metropolitan Phillip confronting Ivan the Terrible

Ukraine has been invaded by Russia, people are being killed, and the Moscow Patriarchy in Ukraine has remained loyal to Putin the tyrant. Most of the clergy refuse to meet the needs of their faithful. Services are not celebrated in the Ukrainian language, sermons are in Russian, and the faithful of the Kyivan Patriarchate are discriminated and ostracized.

Clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine refuse to bury soldiers killed on the front.  They abuse the Mystery of Baptism by refusing to bury a child baptized in a parish of the Kyiv Patriarchate, although they know that even a baptism by a layperson is valid.  If your son or daughter fights with the Russian army all is good. But if your child fights with Ukrainians it is a sin.

Orthodox Christians need to wake up, see the truth and speak out. It is time to understand why Ukrainians want and need the Tomos of Autocephaly. It is important to ask ourselves who do we serve, God or Mammon?

Hieronymous Bosch. Hell

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