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ePoshta | 17Jun2012 | Olitwin

The Secret Meeting

[W.Z. At the request of Lida Kowalyk transmitted via two Emails dated 06Jul2012 at 11:31 hrs and 12:48 hrs, I have removed "slander" against a person involved in the "Patriarch Filaret" controversy. Apologies to all concerned.]

Most people have not read the article by David Satter (June 5, 2012) titled "Russia's State Church: http://www.eurasiareview.com/05062012-russias-state-church-analysis/ 

In his article on Russia's state church, David Satter writes that the ROC church hierarchy has long been co-opted to lend legitimacy to the authoritarian Russian state (p. 3). Former Metropolitan Ilarion equates the Muscovite Church with the Muscovite government (see p. 211 of his chapter 12 of "The Ukrainian Church" , UOCC web-site).

But the UOCC has similar problems that are closer to home than Syracuse. It seems, as of the EP Decree, the subsequent shunning and outlawing the welcome of Patriarch Filaret, that the entire UOCC leadership has joined the Kremlin owners and their allies. How else can one explain such perverse and outdated religious policy? The UOCC first subscribed (1990) and then acquiesced to the primitivism of the Grand Duchy of Muscovy (as in 1686) and then accepted (as in 2012) the two-faced orders of the EP/MP Combo. The Decree inspired and blessed the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and then inspired the charlatans: Kyryl, Putin, Yanukovych and all the rest of the anti-Ukrainian clan. For the UOCC, the "canonicity" of the Decree and approval of Moscow, was demonstrated as being of greater value than support for the leader of the independent church in Ukraine. This was the contents of the "han'ba" that was repeated to the Metropolitan.

We are indeed lucky that the visit of Patriarch Filaret, through unintended consequences, displayed for all to see, the true face of the hidden strategies of the UOCC, thus saving precious time for the laity, allowing it to mobilize an opposition to save the church before it was too late (the "loyal" Committees had been working overtime). It demonstrated that the UOCC has no right of decision-making, even in its own interest. The laity has lost the right of freedom of association within the church jurisdiction it should call its own. It has lost the right of allocation for its own local priests as well as the right to liturgy with priests from Ukraine. The EP has the right to determine what people you can deal with, talk to, stand beside, with whom you can be photographed, and the "legitimate" organizations you are allowed to support (see disclaimer).

What has made this whole affair even more ironic, is that after 20 years of waiting for the privilege of stirring the all-Orthodox canonical cauldron, the moment of Euphoria coincided with the moment of the Fall. The vulnerability of the UOCC structure to EP/MP intrusion, was starkly demonstrated by the Decree, despite the assurances of Fr. Kutash, who had been enlisted to explain the many benefits to be received from the EP upon signing the Articles of Agreement. He must now reprimand himself for having acted contrary to the politically-oriented Decree of the EP/MP.

As a result of the Decree, the UOCC leadership congratulates itself for having stepped into the trap of blind obedience to the EP. The EP congratulates himself for having succeeded in manipulating the "lesser" Ukrainians (malo-Russes) in order to pleased the ROC and Moscow. Kyryl congratulates himself for having fulfilled the mandate of the Russky Mir and for having pleased his masters at the Kremlin. Putin can congratulate himself for having properly convinced (indoctrinated) the EP to the necessary approach and understanding of the issue of Ukrainian church politics at the point where it intersects with the naive, neophyte, newly-canonical Ukrainian Orthodox diaspora of Canada. 

The generous offer of the EP to provide safe-haven for the UOCC under his omophor, as outlined in the Articles of Agreement, has proven to be a false prospectus. The omophor has been provided in exchange for the loss of independent decision-making rights. It has made it easier for the UOCC leadership to govern, since it no longer is responsible for making decisions and no longer has to make pretense of the slightest accountability to the laity --  the Body of the church. The Consistory is no longer of any use and can be disbanded (see April 22, 2012 silent movie performance).

The UOCC leadership has lost sight of the fact that it is those jurisdictions that emphasize parishioner choice and participation that grow the fastest -- clergy salary should be results-based, not based on the number of performances. It has engrossed itself in the non-religious, jurisdictional, political priorities of the EP/MP Combo while claiming to be a church for the Ukrainian diaspora, a church that supposedly follows the direction set by the late Metropolitan Ilarion. Was it his idea that the function of religion is to keep Ukrainians disunited? Is this not ethnophyletism in reverse? 

The EP/UOCC pre-emptive political strategy of no concessions (to the "nationalists" and the KP) arises from the proxy struggles between the Ukrainian nation (the independent churches) and those representing the Russky Mir (EP/MP, Kyryl/Putin [for the Russian side],  UOCC/Yanukovych [for the "Ukrainian" side]). The UOCC hierarchy has been co-opted by the allure and past yearnings for jurisdictional subjugation and canonicity, thus inadvertently bringing the religious struggle in Ukraine to the shores of Canada. The political naivete of its hierarchs was  up-ended by the successful welcoming receptions and banquets given by Canada's parliamentarians in Ottawa, by the UCC and Ukrainian Catholics and Orthodox in Toronto. UOCC priests were forced to break the Decree and exchange pleasantries in order to act civilized in Canada. Should they now be banished?

Canonicity, according to the EP/UOCC may be absolute and irreversible, but humanity, civilized behaviour, and a bias toward one's  homeland religious hierarchs (however distant) and national interest should have prevailed, taken precedence and trumped an ancient and largely irrelevant, canonical jurisdictional policy, that has been set up over the centuries to always be in favour of the Emperor, the EP, the oppressive hierarch (Kyryl), the ruling dictator (Putin) and their sundry, petty supporters in today's diasporas.