Local Orthodox Churches continue sending letters of support for Ukrainian Orthodox Church diocese of Lvov over arson against St. Vladimir’s in Lvov
In connection with the arson against a church of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Lvov, the Primate of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia sent a letter to Archbishop Philaret of Lvov and Galich.
As was reported earlier, during the night of February 3, 2018, radically minded people in the Sikhovsky residential community in Lvov set fire to the Orthodox church of the Holy Prince Vladimir. In his letter, Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia writes, ‘I was stung in my heart by the report that in the diocese entrusted to your care, arson was committed against the church of the Holy Prince Vladimir. I express my support to Your Eminence and pray that the Lord may strengthen the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in faith and devotion’. His Beatitude expressed conviction that ‘this act was committed by those who have nothing to do with the faith or the Church’ and that they ‘deserve resolute censure and condemnation’.
Metropolitan Rostislav stressed that ‘this provocation is evidently aimed to stir up religious hatred and enmity in society and has no justification whatsoever in a country with profound Christian traditions. I pray that the Lord may bring to reason all those responsible for stability and peaceful co-existence among people in the Ukrainian society regardless of their religious beliefs’.
The fact that it was not the first offence committed in the recent time in Ukraine against a church of the canonical Church is mentioned in a letter to Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine from Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, Serbian Orthodox Church: ‘The disturbing news about the grievous situation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine has led us to write you this letter of support and wish you and your flock help and protection from the Only Righteous Judge. We have been especially worried about the church of the Tithe in Kiev and the church of the Holy Prince Vladimir in Lvov, which have been attacked by radical extremists in whose hearts envy and hate towards their neighbours have taken root instead of the love of God’ the letter states.
His Eminence Amfilohije assured Metropolitan Onufry of this continued prayers for the augmentation of brotherly love in Ukraine, cessation of all conflicts and troubles that have befallen the people of the country in the last few years. He also asked to convey the words of support to Archbishop Philaret of Lvov and Galich and to his flock.
‘We hope that justice and common sense will prevail in Ukraine and that in the future Kiev will prove to be worthy of being called the capital of the Holy Prince Vladimir’, Metropolitan Amfilohije continued, ‘We also want to hope that one of the basic human rights – the right of freedom of faith – will be observed by the Ukrainian authorities, thus protecting the rights of the only canonical Orthodox Church of which you are Primate’.
Letters of support in connection with the arson against the church in Lvov were received earlier from Bishop Ioannikij of Budimlja and Nikšić and Ioann of Pakrac and Slavonia (Serbian Orthodox Church) and Metropolitan Panteleimon of Veria, Naousa and Kampania (Orthodox Church of Greece).
Bishop Ioannikij condemned the actions of the arsonists and expressed support for the archpastor, clergy and faithful of the diocese of Lvov. ‘It is hard to believe that in the country to which the holy prince brought the light of the Gospel of Christ, his churches are set on fire. This crime could be committed only by those who are alien to Christian ethics or respect for the fundamental right of each one to have one’s own house of prayer’. He also expressed hope that the law enforcement will do all that depends on them to find the culprits and defend the right of believers to have their own churches for meeting with God.
Bishop Ioann of Pakrac and Slavonia, speaking about the arson in Lvov and the suffering of the Church throughout her history, mentioned in this context the extermination camps in Croatian Jasenovac, ‘in which the blood of hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Christians was spilt at the hands of those who claimed to be Christians’. He assured Archbishop Philaret of his prayers and promised that in his contacts with international organization he will testify to the suffering and discrimination of the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Veria, Naousa and Kampania described the arson as ‘a sacrilegious act whoever might have committed it’ and ‘a shameful and mean manifestation of religious intolerance’ and assured Archbishop Philaret of his support.
DECR Communication Service