Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Canadian politician calls for dialogue between Orthodox churches in Canada and Ukraine, and a disconnect from the Moscow Patriarchate

The following item from my backlog shows the issues that can arise when churches are tied to national and ethnic loyalties. As reported by Marco Levytsky in the Edmonton newspaper Ukrainian News, June 19-July 16, 2014, pp. 1-2:

An MP who is a member of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is urging dialogue between Orthodox churches in both Canada and Ukraine, along with a "disconnect" from the Moscow Patriarchate on the part of Russo-Orthodox churches in Canada and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church--Moscow Patriarchate (UOC--MP) in Ukraine.

"There has to be a disconnect because the Moscow Patriarchate from my understanding...has a direct connection with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin in Moscow and that doesn't necessarily serve well when you have a religious entity in the country of Ukraine. There have to be influences coming through and I certainly believe that there are," Edmonton East MP Peter Goldring told Ukrainian News.

Goldring is a member of St. Barbara's Cathedral in Edmonton, which falls directly under the jurisdiction of the ROC, but most of whose members are of Ukrainian origin.

His wife Lorraine (nee Taschuk) is a descendant of settlers from the Bukovyna region of Ukraine who came to Canada at the turn of the 20th century. These early settlers were served by Orthodox Mission in North America, which at that time was part of the Russian Orthodox Church. Except for St. Barbara's Cathedral, the Russo-Orthodox churches whose members are of Ukrainian origin fall under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church of America which considers the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) to be the Mother Church.

The ROC recognizes the OCA as autocephalous, but this autocephaly is not recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

Goldring says there is a backlash over the Russian annexation of Crimea and its support of the separatist movement in Ukraine developing in the UOC--MP and in Edmonton as well.

"My bishop (Iov, Bishop of Kashira, Vicar of the Moscow Diocese, Administrator of the Parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in Canada) says please help my Ukraine. His priority is to help Ukraine not to keep repeating the Moscow Patriarch's line," says Goldring.

"There is a schism that is going on and quite frankly one of the best things that could happen to Ukraine is to have the two patriarchates joined together as a Kyiv patriarchate and separate from Moscow. There is too much influence coming in from Putin and from (Moscow Patriarch) Kirill...causing problems in Ukraine," he adds.

Goldring, who returned to Canada earlier this month after completing a month-long special investigative mission in the southeastern regions of Ukraine at the request of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird, says one of his investigations took him to Odesa where on May 2, over 40 people died in a fire after clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian demonstrators.

Prior to that incident members of local religious groups--among them Ukrainian Orthodox, Lutheran and Jewish got together to try and defuse the situation under the theme that we are all under one God, but the Moscow Patriarchate church refused to be a part of it and instead marched with the separatists shouting pro-Russian slogans.

"Frankly I think they really incited what followed three [or] four days later," he said.

One way to promote reconciliation among the churches in Canada would be to include the Russo-Orthodox churches among the sites that will be receiving a plaque commemorating the 100th anniversary of Canada's first national internment operations.

Since many of the Ukrainians interned during World War I were Bukovynians who were members of the Russo-Orthodox Church these churches deserve to have plaques especially as this project is receiving funding from the federal government, Goldring says.

No comments:

Post a Comment