Dear UOCC members and members of BRUOC,
The EP is playing with the others in the political sandbox of Orthodoxy that is ringed by the Kanoniko-foreign policy barbed wire of the ROC. The EP's recent "Message" and his suggestions for reconciliation-submission to Moscow is like throwing sand in the face of the representative of 15 million Ukrainians who is standing on the other side of the barbed wire fence.
The MP Church of Ukraine is also playing in the sandbox with the ROC and with the EP but really wants to play with the KP (the embrace). It is surprised and dissuaded by a smaller kid (UOCC), sitting all alone, in the corner of the sandbox that also suddenly takes a handful of sand and spitefully throws it in the direction of the KP representative (the shunning in Toronto) following the example of the KP. This is the same kid that was spanked in 1918 by ROC Archbishop Alexander (Nemelovsky), a Ukrainian by origin, who at first agreed to canonically accept the UOCC but then backed down under official pressure from St. Petersburg (p. 47).
What is wrong with this picture? It is not the same picture as outlined on p. 23 of "Articles of Agreement Between the UOCC of Canada and Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople" (Winnipeg, Man., Eclessia, 2000):
"The Patriarchate of Moscow objected strongly [to the 1990 Agreement], correctly discerning in this relationship a further erosion of its authority over the Church of Ukraine, a position which had been used by the secular powers to gain and maintain colonial rule over the people and land of Ukraine for centuries. These objections [from Moscow] did not prevent the Patriarchate from going further and accepting in 1995 (five years later) virtually all of the rest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches in the diaspora under this umbrella."
Was the writer of these lines aware of the 1995 letter (five years later) from the EP to the ROC explaining the collusion and how the slow-witted Ukrainians had fallen for the scheme? On page 31 we read:
"We use the term 'Mother Church' when speaking about our relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate only to underscore that Moscow's claims to be the 'Mother Church' of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are invalid. This Agreement... is arguably one of the major achievements of current Ukrainian Church history with far-reaching immensely positive consequences for Orthodoxy, for the Ukrainian cause and especially for our Orthodox community (in which the Canadians of Ukrainian descent are in majority) in Canada." [Toronto has more Ukrainians than the prairie provinces]
The EP has "circumvented" the claims of Moscow (and of the writer) by making it into a "sister church" of Ukraine. He gleefully explains how the Ukrainian "independents (autocephalists)" have been outfoxed, even though Metropolitan Ilarion has written that the UOCC was an autocephalous Church. The UOCC is today on the other side of the fence, standing opposite all the representatives of the European Parliament and Canada. This is good for the cause of Ukraine and the diaspora?
Point 2 of the Agreement (p. 15) states:
"The specific identity of this internally distinct ecclesiastical entity [we are an entity, not a Church!] ... shall be independent of any secular, POLITICAL expression and manifestation."
But in his recent "Message" the EP asks the devout Ukrainians to submit to the state of Moscow and all the well-meaning people in charge, there! Is this not a request for a POLITICAL expression and manifestation that is outlawed by the Agreement? Is the EP aware that he is asking the UOCC member to break the Agreement that he has signed?
We need to put an end to these aggressive provocations to the Agreement. The EP has agreed to the title for the Bishop of Toronto and yet this has not been done. The EP has agreed to no political expressions in the "entity" and yet he is the one who is encouraging them. The EP has agreed that the UOCC keeps its administrative procedures, but the UOCC Metropolitan is chosen by the EP Synod. The silence of the Consistory after the shunning, indicates the emasculation of the Consistory.
"Metropolitan Ilarion, as an archpastor, dedicated special attention to canonical order and liturgical practices. He wrote, spoke, preached and taught about these matters constantly." (p. 53). So if he wrote that the UOCC was canonical and autocephalous, what was the point of the Agreement? Was it made solely to give "office" to the hierarchs who are now above the UOCC and can dictate its administrative By-laws that are now rendered worthless? And yet point 1 of the Agreement "proclaims that our Church [correction -- entity] continues to maintain its present internal structure and organization. This means we shall always -- UNLESS WE OURSELVES FAIL IN THIS UNDERTAKING -- be governed by our own Charter and our own By-laws.(p. 23)
It may be time to admit that we have failed in this undertaking. The grit in our eye should be a good indicator of that. The NW case begins Nov. 25, 2013 and it is high time to open a second, Eastern front. Opportunism is a virtue in politics and there should be no qualms or doubts that this is politics. This is not a crisis of religion, dogma, or ecumenical relations.