Russian church in Ukraine fires pro-Russian bishops


Eastern Europe


The Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine Onufry. Photo EPA, Sergey Dolzhenko

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has deposed three top-bishops. They are dismissed because they are accused of supporting the Russian position.

The Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church fired Metropolitan Elisey of Izyum and Kupyansk, Metropolitan Joseph from Romny and Buryn, and Metropolitan, Ioasaf of Kropyvnytskyi and Novomyrhorod. That is reported by Religion.orf. Metropolitans Elisha and Joseph have fled to Russia in the past months.


Metropolitan Elisey was accused of refusing to condemn the support of the Russian Patriarch Kirill for the invasion of Ukraine last July. At the time, he and his church decided that they would continue to commemorate the head of the patriarch to which the UOC belongs, Interfax writes. In reaction, the leading Metropolitan Onuphry of Kyiv already stripped him from his authority as a clergyman. Now, the Synod confirmed this release. In addition, the Ukrainian intelligence service is said to have found evidence of the pro-Russian activities of Metropolitan Joseph.

The official dismissals come after the Ukrainian authorities raided several church facilities in western Ukraine on Tuesday. One of the locations was the Kyiv Perchersk Lavra. The Ukrainian secret service is said to have confiscated pro-Russian literature that propagated the idea of the Russian World, many media in both Ukraine and Russia report. The secret police found no weapons.


At the same time, the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has decided to consecrate its own liturgical oil. That is reported by Katholisch.de. Up till now, the UOC received its so-called myrrh from Moscow. The church in Kyiv was allowed to consecrate this until the Russian Revolution in 1917 but stopped after that.

According to the Orthodox rules, only an autocephalous (fully independent) church may consecrate the anointing oil. Therefore, Archpriest Vladislav Tsypin from the Moscow Theological Academy argues that Moscow should first give permission and authority to the UOC to brew the oil, Sphz writes. The Russian Orthodox Church sees this as a step of the UOC towards autonomy, which would mean a break with the Russian mother church. Officially, the UOC still has an official link with the Moscow Patriarchate, although they have distanced themselves from this church centre after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.



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