Skip to comments.Head of Ukraine's Orthodox Church dies at 78
Posted on 07/05/2014 1:31:07 PM PDT by annalex
The Associated Press
July 5, 2014 Updated 8 hours ago
KIEV, UKRAINE The head of Ukraine's Orthodox Church has died at 78 after leading it for more than two decades during the tumultuous post-Soviet period.
In this file photo taken on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, Volodymyr leaves a booth at a polling station in Kiev, Ukraine. The head of Ukraine's Orthodox Church under the Moscow patriarchate died on Saturday, July 5, 2014, the patriarchate said on its website. Volodymyr , 78, ascended to the leadership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church following the schism, during which its previous head was defrocked. Volodymyr suffered from internal bleeding and had been treated at a clinic in Kiev, Interfax reported. EFREM LUKATSKY, FILE AP Photo
Metropolitan Volodymyr, who had been credited with stabilizing the church, died Saturday "after a long illness," the church announced online Saturday.
In his more than 20 years as head of the country's largest church, Volodymyr weathered the breakaway of two groups that declared themselves independent of the Moscow Patriarchate, which incorporates the Ukrainian church. Observers say he succeeded in preventing even more splits.
"He will go down in history as the savior of the Ukrainian Orthodoxy during a very difficult historical moment, as the preserver of the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodoxy," said Andrei Zolotov, a Russian journalist and expert on Orthodoxy.
Recently, Volodymyr often reflected pro-Russian opinions in Ukraine, where government troops are fighting a separatist insurgency in the east of the country.
Volodymyr was elected the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in 1992 to replace Metropolitan Filaret, who was excommunicated by Moscow and went on to form the rival Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kiev Patriarchate. Another group of schismatics formed the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church.
Volodymyr worked to contain splits between Moscow-leaning and independence-minded church leaders and congregants, while also obtaining broad autonomy for governance and some cultural and religious matters from Moscow.
"There exist contradictions (in the Ukrainian Church), which up until now Volodymyr was able to contain, to balance out," said Viktor Yelensky, head of the Ukrainian Association for Religious Freedom. "He prevented a further split."
Most experts believe that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will eventually be given recognition as fully independent. But were the Ukrainian church to abruptly and fully break away from Moscow, fierce battles over parishes and property would be likely.
Volodymyr adopted the more gradual approach of developing Ukraine's Orthodoxy under Moscow's guidance.
Born Viktor Sabodan to a family of farmers in western Ukraine in 1935, Volodymyr studied at seminaries in Odessa and Leningrad, was ordained at 26 and took monastic vows soon thereafter. Orthodox priests are allowed to marry, but that limits their career paths.
He served briefly in Russian Orthodox Church missions in Jerusalem and Geneva, then as a bishop in Russia and Ukraine, both of which were then a part of the Soviet Union. In 1973 he was appointed the rector of the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary and promoted to the rank of Archbishop of the Moscow Diocese. He later became a senior administrator at the Moscow Patriarchate.
AP reporter Maria Danilova contributed to this report.
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Vjecnaja pamjat!!!! Memory Eternal!!!!
May he rest in the peace of Jesus Christ.
In this file photo taken on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2014, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, Volodymyr, foreground, leads services during the Christmas Eve mass in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra church in Kiev, Ukraine. The head of Ukraine's Orthodox Church under the Moscow patriarchate died on Saturday, July 5, 2014, the patriarchate said on its website. Volodymyr, 78, ascended to the leadership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church following the schism, during which its previous head was defrocked. Volodymyr suffered from internal bleeding and had been treated at a clinic in Kiev, Interfax reported. SERGEI CHUZAVKOV, FILE AP Photo
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church should be independent of Moscow.
Go with God.
O God of spirits and of all flesh, You have trampled upon death and have abolished the power of the devil, giving life to Your world. Give rest to the soul of Your departed servant, the Metropolitan Volodymyr, in a place of light, in a place of repose, in a place of refreshment, where there is no pain, sorrow, and suffering. As a good and loving God, forgive every sin he has committed in thought, word or deed, for there is no one who lives and does not sin. You alone are without sin. Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your word is truth.
May his memory be eternal, May his memory be eternal, May his memory be eternal!
Ukrainian Orthodox Church may refer to:
Note also that to the credit of Moscow Patriarchate, Patriarch Kirill did not go on the pseudo-patriotic neo-Soviet bandwagon. He never appeared to be endorsing the annexation of Crimea; his homilies on the Third Russian Civil War have been wise and moderate. The Orthodox tradition is that the local Church prays for the local authority regardless of the sympathies the flock or the clergy might have to the other side in the conflict. So, if Turkey gets itself in war as it has in the past, the Orthodox living in Turkey will be praying for the victory of the Turks. So the position of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (Kyiv), and that of Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church is closer to the tradition on the subject than Volodymyr's, who pushed for unity with the Moscow Patriarchate and now sees the Ukrainians leaving his church considering it collaborationist. But generally, the three large Ukrainian Orthodox Churches have behaved well in this conflict, in my opinion.
Amen and thank you.
O heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of Truth
who are in all places and fillest all things:
Treasury of good things and Giver of life:
Come and dwell in us and cleanse us from every stain,
and save our souls, O good One.
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