The Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is taking place in Moscow these days, was rich in what the media already dubbed "political sensations." First, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was granted "great independence". Secondly, the Kiev dissenter Filaret asked the ROC for forgiveness, which caused a shock among Ukrainian nationalists. In this case, they are easy to understand.
The Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church granted greater autonomy to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate at the request of the Metropolitan of Kiev Onufriy. The press service of Patriarch Kirill stressed that the changes made in the statute of the ROC "technical", and the UOC remains a self-governing part of the Moscow Patriarchate. But these "technical changes" are really important.
Conflict of the National with the Eternal
It can not be said that independence and autonomy in governance was granted to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church just now - it happened back in 1990 when the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church adopted a corresponding definition.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is completely independent, self-governing and autonomous. Her inner life is in no way controlled from Moscow. The membership of the UOC to the Moscow Patriarchate is not administrative or political, but a canonical one. And here it is worth to clarify what exactly is at stake.
The Ecumenical Orthodox Church consists of fifteen local churches (Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Russian, Georgian, etc.), headed by their patriarchs. The unity between them is indicated by the fact that during the services the patriarchs of each of the churches commemorate everyone else.
Belong to the Universal Orthodoxy can only belong to one of these patriarchates. Between these churches there is what is called eucharistic communion - parishioners of different churches can enter each other's temples to the most important Christian sacrament - the Eucharist, which marks the unity of believers with Christ and with each other.
Of course, in the world there is still some number of communities that have broken away from one of these fifteen patriarchates - from rather large ones, like the so-called "Kyiv Patriarchate", to very tiny ones, consisting of several members. Sometimes the reasons for the split are rather religious: some group of immature zealots believe that the Church has something to blame for true piety, and only they remained the guardians of truth. Sometimes - purely and exclusively political, as with the same "Kyiv Patriarchate".
In any case, for an Orthodox person, falling out of the Universal Orthodoxy is a spiritual catastrophe, which is visibly, grossly and visibly manifested in the fact that he can no longer join the sacrament anywhere in the Orthodox world. It is in this situation are the followers of the so-called "Kyiv Patriarchate", which is not recognized by anyone in the Orthodox world.
Therefore, the membership of the UOC to the Moscow Patriarchate is a sign of belonging to the Universal Orthodoxy, and not of any political relations with the state with its capital in Moscow. But Ukrainian nationalists believe otherwise, seeing in the Moscow Patriarchate an enemy, and in any association with it - betrayal.
For Ukrainian nationalists as people completely indifferent to canon law (and worship in general), any association with Moscow, even if completely non-political, serves as an annoying factor. But there is one more, more crucial conflict moment. For nationalist ideology, the highest value is the nation. All other values - including religious ones - can only be subordinate to the nation.
As the theorist of Ukrainian nationalism, one of the founders of the OUN *, Mykola Sczyborskiy, wrote, "Ukrainian nationalism perceives its nation as the highest, absolute ideological and genuine value, putting forth the slogan: The nation is above all!" Moral values, according to this ideologist, should also be subordinate to the nation:
"In the choice of means for the liberation of the Ukrainian Nation, nationalism does not limit itself to any" universal "precepts of" justice, "mercy and humanism, considering that they are possible for implementation only in conditions of reciprocity ... All that is good that is good for the good, the development of my nation; everything is bad, that this strength and development weakens - this is the main precept of the ideology of Ukrainian nationalism. "
For a believing Christian, the supreme value is God, and His moral demands can not be forsaken for the sake of the nation or whatever else. Thus, Christianity and nationalism are doomed to conflict.
Some form of the church nationalists can accept, but only if for her the name of God will be an instrument that is unconditionally subordinated to national goals. But the UOC does not agree to this - and therefore the hostility of the nationalists is assured.
It manifests itself in various ways, in particular, in attempts to introduce direct legal discrimination of the church, as envisaged in draft law No. XXUMX "On the special status of religious organizations whose governing centers are in a state recognized by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine as an aggressor state". The newspaper VZGLYAD wrote about him in detail.
That is why Metropolitan Onuphrius asked once again to emphasize the independent status of the UOC and, in particular, the fact that its managing center is in Kiev. This, of course, does not abolish the principle hostility of the nationalists, but can weaken their influence on the waverers.
Repentance of Philaret
The second important event of the past day is the letter of the Ukrainian "patriarch" (as a patriarch he is not recognized by anyone in the Orthodox world) Filaret directed to the Council, in which he says in particular:
"I want to stop the divisions and strife between Orthodox Christians, restore the eucharistic and prayerful communion, as is required by the One Holy Covenant and Apostolic Church, for the sake of God's attainment of the bequest of peace between the faithful Orthodox Christians and reconciliation among peoples, I appeal to you to make the appropriate decisions thanks to which will be put an end to the existing confrontation ... I, as your brother and co-worker, apologize for everything that I have sinned in word, deed and all my feelings, and that as sincerely from the heart to forgive all "
In the Church, this step of Filaret was apprehended with cautious optimism. The Council officially determined that "it is pleased to see the appeal as a step towards overcoming the split and restoring church communication on the part of those who once fell away from unity with the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church"
We do not know what prompted Filaret to take such a step. Many people say that, being already very elderly person, Filaret thinks about how to give a kind response in the court of God.
In any case, healing schism will require a long effort. After Filaret's request for forgiveness, the Council of Bishops decided to create a commission for negotiations with the "schismatics". And in the document adopted there, it is stressed that the condition for overcoming the split in Ukraine is the refusal of the unrecognized "Kyiv Patriarchate" to renounce violence against believers and from the seizure of temples.
* Organization, in respect of which the court accepted an inured decision on liquidation or prohibition of the activity on the grounds provided the Federal Law "On Countering Extremist Activity"