Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Eastern churches

Predictable bluster from the Patriarch of Moscow
Having been provoked — deliberately? — by the Ukrainian Catholics’ move to Kiev

Reminds me of the entry yesterday on North Korean propaganda.
According to Patriarch Alexis II, “The Russian Church has deserved at least gratitude for her care for the Uniates during the decades after the war.”
Bullshit. There’s no nice way to say it.

The (to be fair) beaten Russian Church, along with the Communists who beat them, stole those churches and helped send refuseniks (like this fellow and in fact all Byzantine Catholic bishops in this territory stolen during World War II) to the gulags... and now demands gratitude for taking stolen property and turning Christians over to an atheist government to be tortured and killed? That’s chutzpah.

Russian Church asks for Rome’s help in stopping Ukrainian Catholics’ provocation
Which is fine and makes sense but is still ironic — they complain about papal power then turn around and ask him to use it in a very blunt way, interfering in the internal affairs of a sui juris church (and on a matter nothing to do with faith or morals but rather prudential judgement), exactly what they normally say they object to and are afraid of, an obstacle to corporate reunion. Make up your minds and be consistent! God doesn’t contradict himself.

More from me on this row:

Long story short: great for the internal affairs of the Ukrainian Catholics; disastrous for Roman Catholic-Eastern Orthodox relations. My impression is that the UGCC know the latter and don’t care (or worse, are doing it on purpose), which is wrong and стыдно, shameful.

They can move to Kiev, both legally and based on one-true-church claims, and wanting to be based in the historic centre of Russian and Ukrainian Christianity is understandable (and their metropolitan did claim Kiev in his title for a few centuries), but shouldn’t. I’m reminded of St Paul: all things are lawful but not all are good for you nor avoid scandalising your brother.

A good example from history is the saintly Metropolitan Andrew (Sheptytsky) who headed their church for half of the 20th century. (His photo is to the right.) During World War I he was imprisoned in a Russian Orthodox monastery by the Tsarist government and treated badly; when the tables were turned and an Orthodox bishop later was confined in the monastery that was Metropolitan Andrew’s home, he treated him like a brother bishop. The Golden Rule and all that. (Source: the Fr Cyril Korolevsky bio, translated by Archimandrite Serge (Keleher).)

One wouldn’t mind if they became the majority church in the now largely secular Ukraine (they’re the majority only in their homeland of Galicia, the home of Ukrainianism) except that they don’t even respect their own Byzantine Rite tradition — this is another roadblock towards the Catholic goal of corporate reunion (not absorption/elimination of the rites) with the Christian East. They’re about having Latinisms, even Novus Ordo-isms (liturgical dance during Communion when the Pope visited), to show that they’re not Russian but Byzantinisms to show that they’re not Polish. To these Galicians that hybridism is Ukrainianness... and of course not what Rome has in mind when thinking of Byzantine Catholics or reunion with the Orthodox.
RISU note: According to a recent statement of Fr. Ihor Yatsiv, press secretary of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), the key reason for the transfer of the UGCC’s metropolitan see to Kyiv is the need to improve the administrative activities of the church.
Likewise bullshit.

In the age of the telephone and the Internet, the UGCC can serve its few congregations outside Galicia just as well from its natural centre in Lemberg (L’vov).

This is about revenge and spite.

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