Thursday, November 7, 2013

O. Litwin - October 10, 2013

We need to start with the premise that in the past it has been fashionable for the Ukrainian hierarchs to show allegiance to Moscow, including for reasons of self-interest or proselytizing. Today, the UOCC is in step with that tradition. We know that this has come about as result of the 1990 Agreement that degenerated from a eucharistic union to a ONENESS with the ROC that includes directives from the EP for submission to Moscow, necessary changes to the By-laws and a change in the interpretation of the Charter on Canonicity, appointment of bishops, and some external foreign-policy pressure that led to the most shameful act to-date of the Ukrainian diaspora, with the shunning of the representative of 15 million Ukrainians, an officially false order that offended and angered many of the members of the UOCC and others.

There is no way out from this box that has been entered voluntarily. Any possibility of strategic thinking from the hierarchs has been religiously disallowed through their own false belief in the Kanonicity granted by Moscow and all advice from the EP starts there. Instead of a ONENESS with the ROC, the UOCC needs to concentrate on the opposite -- the DISTINCTIVENESS of the ROC values from its own. Currently its position is (in denial) supporting the Kanonical Russky Mir of the "Rus" people and by extension, is also supporting Putin's policy of the Rossiysky Mir of a broader anti-European empire. Both these "brotherly" overtures are detrimental and dangerous for Ukrainians.

As part of the Agreement, the UOCC has accepted that Ukrainians are a branch of the Russian people (the demand of 1918 from Bp. Alexander), that Ukraine does not deserve an independent church, is not an independent country, and that it must integrate with Russia -- against everything that the Ukrainian nation has been striving for in history. The quintessential, symbolic example of its position was exemplified by the rejection of the visitor, who represented the opposite side of the EP and his Kanonicity and in practice, by its attempt to shut down KP congregations in Canada by using the parishioners' own money.

All this is happening as Ukraine is struggling internationally through its democratic forces (including all the religious groups) to rebut Moscow and convince itself that it is indeed ready to accept that it is geographically, historically and culturally a part of Europe, not coincidentally at the time as the UOCC has fallen into the belief of a false Kanonicity and the EP propaganda of the neccesity of a ONENESS with Moscow. The UOCC has become a detriment to the World Congress of Ukrainians and a pariah in Canada for its position, that must be kept hidden for fear of self-embarassment for the Congress.

The BRUOC can help free the chained-down Metropolitan by asking him to clarify the Charter and his position in it, the clause on Canonicity and whether Canonicity comes from the Charter or from the EP. If it can be shown that Canonicity comes from the Charter and its declarations, the Metropolitan can tell the EP that he wishes to switch sides and support Ukraine and its churches rather than Moscow and the ROC. The UOCC needs an excuse to de-Moscovize itself from the ONENESS with the ROC and to begin acting pro-actively, as soon as possible, perhaps sooner than the EP.

Questioning the Metropolitan may at first encounter some difficulties, but in the end would return the UOCC to its previous beneficial status as a unifying Church in Canada for all Orthodox Ukrainians and help it face its responsibilities to its laity members rather than pleasing the EP in his personal agenda as directed from Moscow. He could then say to the EP: "See, I must answer correctly and according to the rule of law. My hands are tied and I must abide by the Charter. We have always been Canonical and there are no provisions here for me to submit to any foreign or Moscow-induced suggestions."

Even, as James Sherr predicts, if Ukraine was eventually disappointed and rejected the Association with Europe, the UOCC would be justified for its actions. As it stands, should the project of association be derailed, the UOCC can then claim that it was one of the helping hands of Moscow for its ONENESS with the ROC. If the Association Agreement is signed, the UOCC is left in the dust with the EP and Moscow. BRUOC can help force the hand of the EP and move the chess pieces forward in timely fashion -- helping both the UOCC and the EP in countering their opponent in Moscow and stabilizing the divisive and centrifugal forces in Canada that have been caused by the 1990 Agreement on Kanonicity.

O. Litwin

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