by Fr. Zechariah Lynch
“The Ukrainian and Russian peoples came out of the Dnieper baptismal font, and the war between these peoples is a repetition of the sin of Cain, who, out of envy, killed his own brother”His Beatitude, Metropolitan Onuphry of All Ukraine.
In the past I have written a number of articles that touch upon ecclesiastical issues in Ukraine, those articles may be found here.
Many are worried now that some “hot war” actions have begun in Ukraine, understandably and rightly so. Yet, speaking first to my Orthodox brethren, most of all I assume in America, I would say, the current issues have spiritual roots. Have we as Orthodox not been at best fairly passive with regard to what has been a type of spiritual fratricide in Ukraine? The spiritual fabric of Orthodoxy has been rent through the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (EP) in recognizing unrepentant schismatics. As I’ve noted before, for years now violence has been used by these false Christians against the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Met. Onuphry (Many Years!). At best flaccid support has been given by some here to the faithful there, mostly because those in America do not want to rock the boat. The representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America, Archbp. Elpidophoros is an avid supporter of the schismatics in Ukraine. He openly communes and supports them. Yet he remains as head of the “Assembly of Canonical Bishops” in America. How can such a thing be? Few it seems have cared, up until now, that the faithful of Ukraine are being subjected to spiritual violence (which has manifested physically). Few it seems have cared that the EP is in open and full communion with unrepentant schismatics. So spiritual violence has been ravaging Ukraine, and few have said much. We value a nominal “peace” above true peace, for true peace cannot be had in communion with false brethren. Now major physical violence is taking place, but what is worse for the soul, spiritual or material violence?