The Primate of the Church in Montenegro:
The Ukrainian Regime is Persecuting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
His Eminence Metropolitan Joanikije of Montenegro and the Littoral remarked that the entire world is silent in the face of the theft of two great holy shrines in Kiev Lavra of the Caves.
On 29 January, 2023, delivering a sermon after celebrating Divine Liturgy at Cetinje Monastery, His Eminence spoke of the persecution to which the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is subjected today, as reported by Svetigora Radio.
“The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the canonical, self-governing and only one universally recognized by all of the Orthodox Churches,” said the hierarch. “But during this bellicose time, she is suffering together with her people.”
The Metropolitan noted that “schismatics together with the Ukraine regime have grasped at the Kiev Lavra of the Caves, one of the greatest Orthodox shrines on the face of the earth.”
“They seized two large churches. First the government seized them, then they were given to the schismatics,” said Vladyka Joanikije.
According to His Eminence, “the entire world has remained silent in the face of the theft of two great shrines in the Kiev Lavra of the Caves, where the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has existed since ancient times.”
“This is an ancient holy site, one of the most famous. May they remain silent. God will demonstrate His justice, and we will pray to God. Prayer—not by our power, but by Divine Power—can truly perform miracles” stressed the archpastor.
He pointed out that churches of the UOC have been confiscated before: 15 years ago he was an eyewitness as believers in Ukraine defended a church when government officials took away the keys to hand them over to an uncanonical structure.
“That was an ominous sign. Of course, the theft of something holy will return like a boomerang to everyone. It will bring benefit to no one,” opined the bishop.
He stated that the faithful of Montenegro collected aid for the UOC and are preparing to send it to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onouphry.
“He visited us when it was most difficult for him, and headed the largest procession of the cross ever held in Montenegro,” recalled Vladyka Joanikije. “Now we want to help the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as she is literally being persecuted."
In the words of the Montenegrin archpastor, the Primate of the UOC prays for everyone and helps “without regard for their political stance.”
“Even in these most difficult times, he established a fund to help everyone in need. And he shares what he has with everyone. This is his response to injustice. He forgives all, he pours forgiveness over all, as the Lord Jesus Christ did on Golgotha. And we must know that here in Montenegro, and the whole world should know, too,” said Metropolitan Joanikije.