In Ukraine, during the year and a half of the war with Russia, almost a thousand communities left the UOC-MP and joined the OCU. How is it happening in Bukovyna? Here, 392 churches belong to the UOC MP. Only 30 transferred to OCU! Why is the transition delayed?
One of the factors is the stereotypes spread by pro-Moscow priests (“uncharitableness” of the OCU, its “sectarianism”). In many parishes, people blindly believe in this. In order to explain to the believers who is who in the religious sphere, Ukraine obliged religious institutions subordinate to the Russian Orthodox Church to reflect their ties to the aggressor country in their name. The Ministry of Justice began to inform about this in the Unified State Register, but the religious organizations of the UOC MP, contrary to the law, automatically corrected the name to the past. Moreover, all of them are located in Bukovyna.
Not all parishioners of the UOC MP know that the head of their church, Patriarch Kirill, justifies the war against Ukraine and prays for the Russian army and Putin. In addition, on the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church, you can see how he campaigns for mobilization. The Verkhovna Rada has been debating the banning of the UOC MP at the state level for a long time.
According to the Ukrainian Institute of Sociological Research, 54% of Ukrainians support this. However, the speaker believes that the issue… can split society. Obviously, one must have political will. Meanwhile, such a ban was supported by the deputies of local councils, including those of Chernivtsi. The slow reaction of the authorities affects the transition to the OCU. The “personality cult” of Onufrii Berezovskyi is another reason for the slow transition. The language factor also impacts the choice: many people perceive Slavic as something “sacred”, although in fact it is an imposed myth. Nevertheless, it keeps them in the orbit of the UOC. Some priests resist the initiatives, because they hold on to their status and profit from the parishes. The OCU needs the support of world Orthodoxy. Unfortunately, it has so far been recognized by only four Orthodox Churches.
If the criminal activities of the UOC MP dignitaries were proven and people saw the verdicts, it would lead to a break. Moreover, they acted as rocket gunners, placed “Orthodox agents” in churches, preserved and spread the symbols of the Russian Federation. Despite the complexity of the process of transition from the UOC MP to the OCU, it cannot be stopped. For Ukraine, this is a path in one direction – liberation from the “Russian world”. According to the results of the Ukrainian Institute of Sociological Research (2022), 54% of Ukrainians associate themselves with the OCU, and 4% with the UOC MP (18% before the invasion). That’s encouraging.