A matter of faithJuly 7, 2014
With the death of Metropolitan Volodymyr over the weekend, a very simple question arises regarding the future of the Ukrainian Orthodoxy – its schisms – and its continued relationship and subordination to the Moscow Patriarch – or not.
It is something touched upon about a month ago, when Patriarch Kirill suddenly left the media limelight – as it became clear Ukraine was not about to simply role over and accept The Kremlin vision of its future.
Metropolitan Volodymyr assumed the role of Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine 2 years after it was granted autonomy in 1990 and given the circumstances, did a particularly good job.
The Church in Ukraine is strong – or at least it was until recently. The Kremlin shenanigans leading up to, and following, the flight of ex-President Yanukovych became a public religious wrangle rather than the behind the scenes interfaith political normative that didn’t effect most Ukrainians or how and where they expressed their belief.
Since then there seems to be a notable gathering societal momentum that is rallying behind the Kyiv Patriarchy headed by Patriach Filaret – considered a schism and canonically invalid by Metropolitan Volodymyr and the Moscow Patriarch. This unholy public wrangling has led to societal conscious decisions at a congregational cost to the Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine.
Canonically invalid or not – any empty church is just a building. Canonically invalid or not, a Patriarch Filaret with large and growing societal belief in his validity and the Kyiv Patriarchy presents a difficult problem for the Moscow Patriarchy and the next Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine.
One has to suspect that any efforts to pull Ukrainian society toward Moscow via The Church, given an already popular alternative, is likely to be met with the very same societal refusal that other Moscow led political and economic mechanisms have received.