Does a believer need to participate in the presidential elections and how should one be guided by this? About this in the material of the Union of Orthodox Journalists of Ukraine.
Ukraine is now probably going through one of the most difficult periods in its recent history. The fighting in the Donbass takes place during radical changes on the rest of it, changes that affect the revision of both the historical past of our people and its church identification. And against the background of all this, elections of the new president of Ukraine are taking place.
Church organizations are openly trying to draw into the political processes that are taking place in the country. Not just to drag in, but to make it support the course that the current government is pursuing. And the question is not whether this course is good or bad. The EU, bezviz, NATO, non-aligned status – all of this to what the Church does, has nothing to do. It generally should not be the mouthpiece of social and especially political processes.
When a person dies, all these questions instantly cease to be of interest to him (even to politicians who promote them), but the posthumous fate of his soul, with whom she will be there, behind the coffin becomes immensely important.
And it is precisely this – the spiritual state of the soul of every Christian that the Church must, more precisely, have to deal with. And according to what people, who speak on behalf of the Church, call us, we can now draw conclusions about whether they actually speak on its behalf.
In one of his interviews, the head of the UOC, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Onufry, said: “Today we are being dragged into the format of a political party so that Christ does not lead us, but politicians … Wearing spiritual clothes, I have to take care of the spiritual and do spiritual things. Those people who wear cassocks and are actively involved in politics are building geopolitical plans – they are simply dishonest people who could not become real politicians, but made werewolves of themselves in order to attract human attention to themselves through their spiritual image. Before God, these people will have to answer for it … The Church cannot live by the standards of worldly life. Worldly life, especially political life, is mixed with intrigue, deception, betrayal. A set of all evil. The church cannot live by such standards, such norms. The church lives by the commandments of Christ.
We have our own methods of dealing with evil. It is a prayer, it is repentance, it is patience, it is humility before God and before each other. It is also a powerful weapon that destroys evil. The priest is called to be a peacemaker, not a politician who separates people. ”
Hardly anyone would argue with these words. This is a vivid manifesto of how the Church should relate to politics, how it should coexist with it.
But now, when the elections of the President of Ukraine are taking place, people who wear priestly robes and broadcast on behalf of the Church often say quite different words. But why?
Long before the first ballot of the presidential election, the head of the newly-created religious structure of the FC “Metropolitan”, Epiphanius Dumenko, repeatedly stressed the role of Petro Poroshenko in getting Tomos and compared it with the equal to the Apostles Prince Vladimir, and called “the second Epiphany of Ukraine”. According to Epiphanius, it is Petro Poroshenko who possesses exemplary qualities of a leader, and he considers his ability to convince people to be “a certain model.”
Other representatives of the “former” UOC-KP and the UAOC also repeated it. For example, Makariy Maletich called on every Ukrainian to “bow deeply to Mr. President”, and “patriarch” Filaret insisted that Poroshenko’s name would go down in history forever. Some “bishops” – splitters in general assert that the name of the future president of Ukraine is written in the text of Tomos, while others say that it is the will of God to elect Poroshenko to this position.
March 31, that is, on the day when the first round of voting took place, an entry appeared on the website of the Mukachevo-Carpathian Diocese of the CCU with the name “For whom to vote on March 31 during the election of the President of Ukraine?” The recording was accompanied by a photo of the meeting of the head of this diocese with the current president.
It also became known that the “Metropolitan” of the PCU, Anthony Makhota, also on March 31, when any political agitation was prohibited, brought the text of Tomos to the church, it is obvious that the believers would once again be convinced who to vote for.
Even more political preferences of the Ukrainian schismatics became clear after the first round of presidential elections. Many Internet resources that promote the interests of the PCU, openly and bluntly called for and urge voters to cast their votes for the country’s commander in chief, calling his opponent “supporter of the UOC-MP” and not hesitating to use the lowest and even obscene language.
On April 7, 2019 in Rovno, Dumenko explained to the believers of his organization who they should vote for: “We should not forget that Ukraine is defending itself against external aggression. And we need to choose the commander-in-chief, who in a state of war will be able to protect our freedom from the encroachments of Russia, will be able to say to the Russian president “No!” It is hardly worth reminding which of the presidential candidates is building their campaign on the emphasis of a similar topic.
However, if the head of the PCU only transparently hints at how to vote, then the “bishops” of this Church are more outspoken.
The “Bishop” of the PCU, Adrian Kulik-Bogdan, stated that everyone who voted not for Petro Poroshenko, but for Vladimir Zelensky – “little Russians, Ukrainians, and outright idiots”.
Oleksandr Dedyukhin, a man who calls himself the “priest” of the PFC, openly agitates for one of the candidates: “I choose Poroshenko”.
A few days earlier Dedyukhin turned to Zelensky demanding that he apologize for “insulting the feelings of millions of believers of Ukraine”, calling Tomos a “thermos”. Explaining his position on this issue, Dedyukhin was no longer shy in words and expressions. His posts on Facebook are so clearly permeated with aggression and malice and are so far removed from Christianity that it is simply inconceivable to imagine that they were written by a person who calls himself a priest:
“I will just continue to despise him. For plagiarism and cowardice. For the lack of a sense of humor. For stupidity. And much more. Well, in principle, my feelings for him will be the same as now. Also on confessions I will listen to the repentance of Ze’s fans for voting for him. And yes, why on “you”? Yes, I am with God on “you”, and only about the third-rate figurine of the year.
Was Zelensky guilty of something to Dedyukhin? Only by the fact that in one of the stage numbers his character made a reservation, and instead of the word “Tomos” he said “thermos”. Is it enough for a person who calls himself a priest to radiate hatred and aggression and use such words as “ssyklo”, “ssykun”, “drug addict” and so on? And can such a person be a spiritual guide for Christians if Christ and the Gospel teach us the exact opposite? Does the priest have the right to speak on behalf of God, declaring that His will is the victory of Poroshenko? Hardly.
No one can know the fate of death. Neither his own, nor others. We can only hope and trust in the mercy of God.
But not the “priests” of the VPC / UOC-KP. One of the clerics of the Vladimir Cathedral of the UOC-KP Peter Zinich promised hell to all those who vote for Zelensky: “All who vote for Zelensky’s clown will burn in hell. Amen and glory to God! ”
Even more active in the field of political agitation for the incumbent were the hierarchs and clergy of the UGCC. As blogger Alexander Voznesensky rightly noted: “A number of priests, prominent figures and even bishops write entries in the style of“ if you voted for Zelensky – leave my list of friends ”. Imagine for a moment that a shepherd pushes people away from himself and from Christ for the sake of politics! But this is a fact, and it is happening on a huge scale. ”
Similar posts on their Facebook pages were posted by the Bishop of the UGCC Peter Creek, the hieromonk Justin Boyko, the chief editor of the Uniate resource Religious Information Service of Ukraine Taras Antoshevsky. The latter, by the way, also said that Zelensky is “a choice for Gopnik.” Such rhetoric with regard to its fellow citizens who have other political views is not surprising for representatives of the UGCC. But how much can it be related to Christianity?
Now it is quite obvious that confessions that were favored by the present authorities are selflessly agitating for this very power. And besides, the government requires its affection to work out the votes of voters.
Oksana Syroid, Deputy Chairman of The Verkhovna Rada, said that the Presidential Administration obliges the representatives of the PFC to conduct campaigns for Petro Poroshenko: “I learned today that, as it turned out, the Presidential Administration is calling for churches and telling how to properly defeat the current president election. That is, someone to remember in the sermons, send instructions to the churches. “
But what should the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church do with all this, who also live in Ukraine and elect the president of their country?
Many were quick to conclude that since those who oppose the UOC are vehemently criticizing Vladimir Zelensky and those who voted for him, it is he who should be supported.
However, we hasten to disappoint them. As it turned out, in the headquarters of Zelensky they believe that it is necessary to continue the policy of supporting the PTSU, which Petro Poroshenko started. In addition, it turned out that Svyatoslav Yurash, the son of Andrei Yurasz, the same director of the department of the Ministry of Culture for Religious Affairs, who has been leading (and quite successfully) in a planned struggle with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, works at headquarters.
What is it all about?
The fact that an Orthodox Christian should not rely on politicians or ideology, naively hoping that their interests and the interests of the Church can coincide somewhere. In any case, only the politician will win.
Worldly wisdom says that we should not be fascinated, so that later not be disappointed. The psalmist David says even more precisely: “Do not lean on the princes, on the sons of man, but in them there is no salvation” (Ps. 145, 3).
In the history of the Church of Christ there were various periods. There has been complete support of the authorities, there have been times of overt persecution, and it is not yet known what is worse or better for the Church.
People on earth have always tried to build an ideal society in which to live comfortably and happily. But each time they saw this ideal in different ways. Some built communism, others – Nazism, some people tried to build empires and subjugate others. And based on this, they chose their own rulers.
Now Ukrainians, including Orthodox Christians, are choosing a new president for themselves.
Should we, Orthodox Christians, fulfill their civic duty? Of course, we must vote. Vote for the one who, in our opinion, will bring more benefit to our long-suffering Motherland.
But when making our choice, we should not “stick our heart”, agitate for “our” candidate and especially rely on the fact that he will consciously help the Church. Will not.
Yes, the Church does not need it. Her task is not campaigning for a candidate, she does not advocate “war to the bitter end” or entry into NATO. Her goal is to prepare us for a completely different society, that which is in Heavenly Jerusalem. And our main choice is not the fight against Poroshenko or Zelensky, our choice is the fight against dirt in our own soul. And if we make it, we will benefit both ourselves and those who are breaking their spears, hoping to build a perfect (in their own way) society here on earth. And here, more than ever, the words of St. Seraphim will sound appropriate: “Save yourself, and thousands will be saved around you”.
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