Editorial Note: The posting of stories that might be sensitive to the UOC-KP position does not mean that I in any way endorse an uncanonical body or am trying to paint victims as villains or vice versa. If you've read this blog for any period of time you know that I'll post material from both "sides" of an argument to foster discussion. Does the Orthodox Church accept the UOC-KP or UAOC or any other such group? Categorically not. At the same time I've posted on the OCA's autocephaly to the great consternation of some readers fully acknowledging the lack of consensus on that topic. Please feel free to send me stories from the other camps. I'll happily repost them. A blessed Great Lent to you all.
(Time) - Archbishop Kliment of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church became a national hero to protestors at Maidan Square. Now, his church faces the prospect of being wiped off the map, as his homeland of Crimea prepares to vote for annexation by RussiaComplete article here.
Archbishop Kliment began evacuating the holy icons from his church about two weeks ago, as soon as he realized that the region of Crimea, where he serves as the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox faith, would soon fall to the Russians. He wasn’t so much afraid of looting or arson from the Russian soldiers occupying his region of Ukraine, although that concerned him too. He was preparing for nothing less than the nullification of the Ukrainian Orthodox church. Under Russian rule, “we will simply be liquidated,” he says. “Our church is an enemy to the order that Russia would impose here, and our churches would be either looted or in the best case forced to close.”
Those are not empty fears. Next week, Russia will get its chance to annex the entire Crimean peninsula, whose referendum on Sunday is stacked in favor of full secession from Ukraine. The result isn’t likely to do terrible and lasting damage to Ukraine’s economy or demographics. Crimea is a depressed region, connected to the mainland by only two roads, and the majority of its two million people are ethnic Russians who will likely welcome the chance to rejoin their historical homeland. But for Ukraine’s people, their security and their sense of national pride, the loss of Crimea will be devastating. A generation since Ukraine won its independence from Moscow after the fall of the Soviet Union, it will again have to confront its own subversion, as well as the theft of its territorial jewel, the home of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Ukrainians and the birthplace of their religion.
The country remains, in many ways, a hostage of its own geography and history. Ukraine shares a wide-open border with Russia all along its east and south, and in the past week, around 80,000 Russian troops have surrounded it, according to Ukraine’s security council. If the government in Kiev uses force to defend Crimea from annexation, Russia is almost certain to launch a broader invasion. On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry even warned in a statement that it “reserves the right” to take parts of eastern Ukraine “under its protection.” The stick-up job implied in this threat is simple: give up Crimea and Russia may hold off on taking anything else...