In Kyiv, with the mediation of the head of the State Service for Ethnopolitics and Freedom of Conscience, a meeting of small groups of priests of the UOC and OCU was held. In total, up to 20 people took part in it. This meeting was the result of zoom-seminars of the clergy organized by the same Service. Obviously, the parties did not agree on anything specifically, since the memorandum following the meeting was written and signed by representatives of the OCU a day later and was open for signing by anyone.
The PR effect of this meeting is deafening – the media and even European religious scholars expect a “breakthrough” in relations between the UOC and the OCU and their joint struggle with the ROC.
All this has no basis.
In reality, both in the UOC and in the OCU, at any moment you can recruit a certain group of priests who are ready (for various reasons) to sign almost anything, or even more so to sit at events on behalf of the state. And it will be quite in line with their beliefs/interests at the moment.
However, both the UOC and the OCU are churches – that is, hierarchically organized structures with thousands of priests and dozens (and in the UOC and hundreds) of bishops.
They have seen and will see many such grassroots, supposedly as priestly initiatives. Moreover, the organizers of the event from the OCU have been doing this on a semi-professional basis since 2018 with constant failure. Is it worth reacting to every press release of such a plan? For the sake of expecting that a certain company of priests will throw off the episcopate and create a new autocephalous-renewal movement without end and edge? Oh well. Actually, this is a kind of religious belief. In a pure and sinless progressive priesthood, breaking everything old and establishing a new one aka Martin Luther.
But this faith makes it difficult to observe the real and significant processes taking place in the same churches. Including with regard to real possible negotiations and agreements, and not PR projects. It is not a big secret that at the local level, part of the clergy and episcopate of the UOC and the OCU maintains full working and personal contacts with each other. Yes, and the participants of this meeting were quite capable of meeting the same company for beer and without the assistance of the State Service. Thankfully, we’ve known each other for years. And certainly, any agreements will make sense when one of the parties stops attacking the temples of the other – with breaking doors, hanging locks and fake papers from local authorities.
The photo is just a beautiful picture found on the net when preparing the text. The picture shows one of the OCU initiators of the meeting and the author of the memorandum (with a cross) participating in the ceremony of honoring a certain Larisa Lomakina in a church on the outskirts of the capital city of Kyiv. 06/28/2022.
On the other hand, the mise-en-scene is so perfectly built that I would put it on the cover of a book about the OCU.