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Montenegrin bishop on events in Ukraine: Encroachment on shrines will return like a boomerang

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church during the war suffers along with its people, and the most dangerous thing that war brings is division within one and the same people. Metropolitan Ioanniky of Montenegro and Primorsky said this in a word to the flock, brethren and clergy of the Cetinje and Bar dioceses of the SOC after the Divine Liturgy in the Cetinje Monastery on January 29, 2023, Pravlife writes.

As the bishop noted, at every divine service the Serbian Church prays that the Lord would send His mercy and grace to Ukraine and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

“The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is canonical, independent and the only one recognized by all Orthodox Churches. But in this time of war, she suffers along with her people. Particularly dangerous are those wars that bring division within one and the same people. The first divisions began in Ukraine itself. There are those who talk about it. But the circumstance that schismatics had previously taken away churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church somehow went unnoticed,” said Metropolitan Ioanniky.

According to the bishop, fifteen years ago he saw how believers in Ukraine defended the temple, the keys to which were taken away by the authorities in order to be handed over to schismatics. Even then it was clear that this was not good for Ukraine.

“That was a bad sign. Of course, a boomerang will return to anyone who encroaches on the shrine. This will not benefit anyone,” said Metropolitan Ioanniky.

The bishop noted that now the schismatics, together with the authorities, have reached the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, one of the largest Orthodox shrines in the world.

“They took two big temples. First they were confiscated by the state, and then handed over to the schismatics. And this is familiar to us. It should have been the same here, and we planned to do the same, but, thank God, we couldn’t,” said Metropolitan Ioanniky, drawing parallels between the events in Ukraine and the encroachment on the holy places of the SOC in Montenegro and in the autonomous region of Kosovo and Metohija.

The bishop expressed regret that “the world kept silent about the theft of two great shrines in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, where the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been located since ancient times, since the time of the great Russian princes and emperors.”

“This is an ancient shrine, one of the most famous. And the whole world is silent. But let him be silent. God will show His justice, and we will pray to God. And prayer – not by our power, but by the power of God – really works wonders. She is up there, moving everything and eliminating evil between people,” said Metropolitan Ioanniky.

The bishop said that the Montenegrin Metropolitanate had recently collected help and intended to hand it over to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kyiv and All Ukraine.

“His Beatitude came to us when it was most difficult for us, and led the religious procession – the largest cathedral of believers ever held in Montenegro. And now we want to help the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, now that it is being literally persecuted,” said Metropolitan Ioanniky.

He added that His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry prays to God for everyone and helps everyone, “without finding out who is who, who has what political position.”

“Even in these most difficult days, he established a fund to help all those in need. And he shares everything he has with everyone. Here’s how he deals with injustice. He forgives everyone, pours out his forgiveness on everyone, like the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary. And we must know this here in Montenegro. And the whole world should know about it,” Metropolitan Ioanniky emphasized.

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