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    BRAMA News and Community Press

    BRAMA, Feb 11, 2005, 9:00 am ET

    Press Release

    UAOC calls for investigaton of property claims and assault on clergy in Kyiv

    Feb. 10, 2005 — The Bishops, clergy and people of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church - Canonical would like to express their shock and extend their fraternal support to Archbishop Ihor and the personnel of Nasha Vira after the February 4, 2005 criminal takeover and assaults of Father Valerii Kopiika and the other individuals at the headquarters of Archbishop Ihor and Nasha Vira in Kyiv.

    Although we are of different jurisdictions, we are one holy Catholic Orthodox Church, and our Church must follow the Gospel precept of fraternal love, respect and Christian witness.

    Recently, Metropolitan Mefodiy [Valerii] Kudriakov has written about his jurisdiction being the only “real” Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine. However, we ask whether a Bishop who had authorized and himself been physically present at the barbaric “revolution” of February 4, 2005, an Archbishop who ordained Bishop Bohdan Koulik after Bohdan Koulik physically assaulted and beat Metropolitan Moisey, the Primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church - Canonical, and a Bishop who had spent time in jail as a convicted felon -- can such a man remain Primate, much less lead, any Church?

    The claims of Metropolitan Mofodiy regarding the authenticity of his Church are nebulous, at best, as the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church is the descendant of the Tomos of 1924 of the Ecumenical Patriarch Gregorios VII Haddad and with which Metropolitan Mefodiy has absolutely no connection either by association or Apostolic Succession. Metropolitan Mefodiy’s Church is the the result of a schism with the Moscow Patriarchate and not with the historic Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and can hold no claim to the spiritual legacy or properties of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

    We believe that the Church of Jesus Christ is strengthened not by the buildings His followers amass but by the love, integrity and holiness enfleshed by His followers. Where two or three are gathered in His name, He is present. To degrade Orthodoxy to the level of using physical and abusive force in the acquisition of buildings built of stone is to belittle the entire message of the New Testament.

    As this matter is a claim for property and relies on no substantive spiritual basis, and because Metropolitan Mefodiy’s actions appear to involve brutal physical force and abuse, we ask for a complete, objective and fair investigation of the incident by the respective governmental authorities in Ukraine.

    Bishop Ioan
    Bishop of the Midwest
    Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church - Canonical

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