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Understanding the Deepening Rift Between the Two Ukrainian Churches

The huge problem with the Ukrainian church under Kiev is radicalized nationalism 

Originally appeared at: Union of Orthodox Journalists

Metropolitan Onufry is like the grandfather of Ukraine. Everyone wants to hug him. Filaret (right) is more like the Krampus of Ukraine, he's just mad because no one wants to hug him.


Editor's Note: Below is an article explaining the difference between the leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Onufry, and the leader of the illegitimate "Kiev Patriarchate" Filaret. It is important to understand when we say illegitimate, this is not an insult, but fact: the Kiev Patriarchate is not recognized by the international Orthodox Community. It is 'uncanonical,  because it was not created in a legitimate process and therefore is not in line with the Church's teachings on everything, and in communion with other Orthodox churches. By their own admission, the Ukrainian church doesn't even care about canonical status. [Original Ukrainian statement]

Metropolitan Onufry, the second highest ranking bishop in the Russian Church, is widely loved, having been born in Western Ukraine, a very non-Russian part of the country. Filaret, ironically defines his church as 'Ukrainian nationalist,' he was a Russian Bishop born in Eastern Ukraine, who randomly declared himself Patriarch of a new church when he lost an election in the Russian Church. Filaret's Church is now filled with nationalists and extremists, and the two leaders are living in two different worlds. Here is a comparison of the two church leaders that really clarifies the difference between them and their churches.


There is an old story about how Albert Einstein, while at university, argued with the professor about the existence of God.

According to the professor's arguments, since God created everything, and among "all" there is evil, then God is also evil. On hearing that, as our history claims, Einstein retorted:

"Professor, does darkness exist?"

- Of course, it does.

"You're wrong, sir." Darkness also does not exist. Darkness is really the absence of light. We can study the light, but not darkness. We can use Newton's prism to decompose the white light into a multitude of colors and study different wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into the world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you find out how dark is any space? You measure how much light is available there. Is not it? Darkness is a concept that a person uses to describe what happens when there is no light.

In the end, Einstein asked the professor:

"Sir, does evil exist?"

This time uncertain, the professor replied:

- Of course, as I said. We see it every day: cruelty between people, a lot of crimes and violence across the world. These examples are nothing but manifestations of evil.

To this the student replied:

"Evil does not exist, sir, or at least it does not exist for itself." Evil is simply the absence of God. It is similar to darkness and cold - a word created by a person to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is not faith or love that exists, like light and warmth. Evil is the result of the absence of Divine Love in the human heart. It's kind of the cold that comes when there is no heat, or the kind of darkness that comes when there is no light.

This story rhymes with some events, or rather the words that took place on the day of the commemoration of Prince Vladimir and the Baptism of Rus. Moreover, illustrates well what the Ukrainian split is.

Yes, the Kyiv Patriarchate exists and functions only because there is a Church. To be more precise, schismatics, like a cancerous tumor, parasitize on a healthy body. In this case, the death of the organism also means the death of the parasite.

The word "parasite" is not meant to offend anyone, and especially ordinary people who are blinded by propaganda and lies directed against our Church. Some of them are sincerely mistaken, some are angry, some do not want to humble their pride, and all of them are poor and unhappy creatures. "Parasite" is used here only in the meaning according to the dictionary: "1. An organism living at the expense of another organism. 2. Figurative. A man who lives on other people's means, at the expense of someone else's labor, a parasite (a social parasite)." Both meanings of this word cannot be better suited to what is called the Kyiv Patriarchate in Ukraine.

For example, in order to understand that schismatics live at the expense of the Church, it is enough to compare the sermons of both primates - Metropolitan Onufry and Filaret Denisenko.

Metropolitan Onufry


Here is a full text of the sermon of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry:

"Brothers and sisters, I congratulate you on the great holiday in honor of our enlightener and baptizer - the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Grand Prince Vladimir.

The Holy Prince Vladimir is our spiritual father who revived us in the baptismal font, turning our people from violent and cruel to a kind, noble, loving folk. Today we are celebrating and praying to Prince Vladimir to solicit for us to our Creator with His holy prayers and intercession before the Throne of God that the Lord help us to preserve that legacy, spirit and pure Orthodox faith that the Saint once accepted and brought to our land so that we are an adornment of our land and for the whole world; so that we live in love for God and for each other; so that we endure each other and try to live according to those holy laws that are written in the Holy Gospel, which was brought to our land by the Holy Prince Vladimir. By the prayers of Saint Prince Vladimir, may the Lord protect and help us all."

We can see that these are the words of a man of the church who knows that the Church to which he belongs is the Church of God. It does not depend on the conjuncture, political preferences, other Churches and religions. The Church – once again – is God's. He calls for love and peace, for change of our selves, for prayer and mercy. What is more important - Metropolitan Onufry did not say a word about the Kyiv Patriarchate. Darkness, as we remember, disappears when light appears.

Absolutely different intonation and other words were chosen on the second day after the Cross Procession of the UOC, from the same Vladimir Hill, by Filaret.

Here are some separate quotes:

"Yesterday there was also a cross procession. And they also prayed to Prince Vladimir Equal-to-the-Apostles. They prayed for catholic Ukraine, for peace. And we pray for catholic (united, not Roman Catholic) Ukraine, for peace. What separates us? Why are we not together? We are not talking about the peace they are talking about. We are talking about the peace in a democratic, independent state. And they want peace within the Russian Empire. We are for the just peace. And they are for the peace in captivity. We need freedom, democracy, and truth. And they need slavery, they are used to it. This is the difference between us."

Nope. The difference between us is not in “this.” The difference between us lies in the very essence of our views of the Gospel and Christ. In that our Primate speaks of peace, love and good, whereas the primate of the UOC KP speaks of war, aggression and evil. That’s the difference.

In addition, his words make it very clear that the entire rhetoric of the UOC-KP is built on the opposition of "us" and "them." If there were no UOC, the schismatics would not have anything to talk about. Once again, our Primate did not speak or recall representatives of the UOC-KP, while Filaret builds his whole existence on opposition.

Practically the same can be said about another meaning of the word "parasite" - "one who lives on other people's means and at the expense of someone else's labor." There's nothing to explain. It’s enough to recollect how many temples of our Church have been grabbed by schismatics. And how many more will they take away?

They are like fledglings of a cuckoo, which are put by their mother into nests of other birds. Then, when the chicks are growing up, they push their "named brothers" out of the nest. The only difference is that the schismatics do not have a mother – instead they have a father. And his name is the devil.