Patriarch John X of Antioch sent a message of “support” to Metropolitan Onufriy of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine.
The reason for this was the decision of the Ukrainian authorities to order the evacuation of the monastery by the monks of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as they believe that it is under the full control of the Kremlin administration and that it is used as a hybrid attack against Ukraine.
The Patriarch of Antioch addressed Metropolitan Onufriy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on social media regarding the monastery of Lavra, referring to the “persecution” he and his Church are enduring.
He also stressed that he stood by Metropolitan Onufriy and his flock, praying for an end to the war and the “threats” to his Church.
It is recalled that a few days ago Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine made a statement regarding the status of Lavra and what has been heard lately.
Among other things, he assured that the monastery would not be closed or the monastic life interrupted.
As Metropolitan Epifaniy pointed out in his announcement, the Monastery will not be closed nor the monastic life will be interrupted. Referring to the statements of the Patriarch of Moscow and the parallelism of the current decisions with the persecution by the communist authorities, he spoke of an “unfounded deception.
It sounds particularly cynical from a hierarch who was closely associated with the Communist Party and even tried to run for elected office on behalf of that party.”
The Metropolitan of Kyiv also referred to the Ukrainian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, stressing that both the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine and the Ukrainian state are trying to encourage Metropolitan Onufriy to end the subordination of the Ukrainian Church to the Russian center.
He also blames Metropolitan Onufriy himself, stressing that he proceeded to an “attempt to mislead the state with the declaration of secession from the Moscow Patriarchate, while in fact, it remains subordinate to it.
Neither Metropolitan Onufriy nor the Synod he presides over overreacted in any way to the numerous incidents of cooperation of the hierarchs and their clergy with the Russian conquerors or to the annexation by Cyril Gudiaev of the religious structures located in the temporarily occupied territories. Instead, in the spirit of Russian propaganda, they focused on accusations against Ukraine.”
Regarding the Lavra Monastery itself, Metropolitan Epifaniy underlined that society is aware that the Lavra, under the leadership of the current abbot of the Monastery, has become a center of propagation of the ideology of the “Russian world”, an ideology that is the basis and justification for Russia’s war against Ukraine.
He recalls that the abbot for this reason has been awarded by Russian President Putin.
Addressing the monks who are in the monastery, he invites them to contribute to the liberation from the yoke of Moscow.
“We have the same Orthodox faith and we belong to the same Church of Christ. Moscow’s ecclesiastical authority in Ukraine is non-canonical and everyone can see how the Kremlin is using it against the Ukrainian people. The Lavra should not be an instrument of struggle against Ukraine, but rather a place of prayer, a pious monastic life in the spirit of the fathers and ascetics of the past, a place that will spiritually inspire our fellow citizens in these difficult times.
Read below the message of the Patriarch of Antioch to Metropolitan Onufriy
With joyful sorrow, we embrace you in the Lord during these days of the Great Fast, as we prepare for our Lord’s Death and Resurrection. We write to you at this difficult moment in the history of the venerable Ukrainian Orthodox Church, a moment that calls to mind the words of the Holy Apostle Paul: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
With great pain of heart, we observe from afar the persecution that you and your holy Church are enduring for the sake of Christ. While we are physically a long distance away from you, we are near to you in spirit, and we extend our hand to you at this dark hour: you and your flock are in our constant prayers as we implore the Lord for the quick cessation of this tragic war and the end of all threats to your holy Church.
May the Lord grant you wisdom and strength to endure, “for he that shall endure to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13).