Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The leadership of the Odessa military academy refused to allow the believers of Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) to hold a church service in the temple in honor of Saints Cyril and Methodius located on the territory of the academy.
The representative of the leadership of the academy Major Bogdan Cheremushenko said that the security measures in the academy had been strengthened because of “combat training”, and thus didn’t allow believers to enter the temple belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).
“I have no powers to show something to someone. I worry about your safety. In Ukraine there is a difficult situation. We are afraid, and when we are afraid we start to move … You can’t pray today in the temple due to the ongoing combat training and educational process on the territory of the academy,” said the Major.
The ban on believers visiting the temple, according to one of the priests, is connected to the fact that today the military chaplains of uniats and schismatics from the unrecognised Kiev patriarchate came to the academy and intend to hold their service in the temple belonging to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).
“We represent Metropolitan Agafangel. At the time when this military unit was disbanded and transferred to Lvov, it is precisely Metropolitan Agafangel who defended it via his appeal to the President, to the Verkhovna Rada, and to the Prime Minister. And thanks to his authority and appeal, the military unit that you now have the honor of serving in has been revived. And today it is paradoxical that the representatives of that person thanks to who this military facility still exists don’t allow us into the temple that he consecrated,” said the priest.
He has noted that schismatics may today capture the temple.
“After all, we understand why it is exactly today that it happens. It is just because representatives of other faiths today have the intention to hold their service in the temple that belongs to us. This is our temple, it was consecrated by us, our tools that were acquired by us are there, this temple was designed by us… Today chaplains are all over Ukraine – it is Greek-Catholic and ‘Kiev patriarchate’. And it is precisely they who wanted to hold their church service there today,” stressed the priest.
Representatives of the Odessa diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church intend to appeal against today’s ban and report about it to the OSCE.
Earlier, the so-called patriarch of the unrecognised in the orthodox world “Kiev patriarchate” Filaret said that if the Constantinople patriarch recognises Ukrainian autocephaly, then the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will lose the Kiev-Pechersk and Pochaevskaya Lavras, and also all temples.
“When the Ukrainian church will be recognised here, then both Lavras will be transferred to the Ukrainian church. Because it is a Ukrainian shrine. Both Russia and the Moscow patriarchate have no relation to these shrines. And those parishes and temples that were built at their own expense are the property of these parishes, and not Russia. That’s why Russia doesn’t have its own church property here”, threatened the head of schismatics.
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