18.08.2008, [14:59] // Conflict //
Stryi— Four former priest-monks of the Basilian order who have declared themselves bishops, called the “Pidhirtsi fathers,” tried to take the Eparchial Administration of the Stryi Eparchy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) and a UGCC church building in Stryi, in western Ukraine’s Lviv Region, on 15 August 2008. According to the Press Service of the Stryi Eparchy of the UGCC, they were unsuccessful.
According to the Press Service of the Stryi Eparchy of the UGCC, the “Pidhirtsi fathers” are trying to carry out their disruptive plans through local provocateurs. According to the press service, laypeople and civic organizations of the city of Stryi have expressed their preparedness “to counter the provocative intentions of the monks/self-proclaimed [bishops] from Pidhirtsi.”
Fr. Taras Poshyvak, chancellor of the Stryi Eparchy, said that “Sunday 17 August was a day of spiritual mobilization for the faithful of the Stryi area… The community is ready directly to defend the premises of the Stryi Eparchy of the UGCC which the Pidhirtsi rebels want.” The press service noted that youth organizations of the Stryi Eparchy have started patrolling church territories.
At the same time, the “Pidhirtsi fathers” on 19 August plan to start a nine-day prayer vigil from 20:00 to 21:00 every day so that Bishop Taras Senkiv leave the city of Stryi and that one of the “Pidhirtsi fathers” be named in his place.
The press service interprets this vigil in the following way: “it is necessary to understand another attempt to take the premises of the Stryi Eparchy and interfere in the religious life of the city” and claims “physical punishment for Bishop Taras (Senkiv), auxiliary bishop of the Stryi Eparchy of the UGCC, is planned.”
According to Fr. Poshyvak, “the police are helpless, and they confirmed this on 15 August… There is psychological pressure on the workers of the structures of protection from the regional leadership of the police. The Pidhirtsi attackers themselves confirmed this in one of their letters of 16 August.” In the letter in question, it reads: “His Grace Metodii [Methodius] was able to call our acquaintances with his mobile phone, and right after this the head of the police from Lviv ordered that we be released immediately.” “Now we know for whom these monks are working,” said Fr. Poshyvak.
RISU note: Patriarch Lubomyr (Husar), head of the UGCC, on 23 March released an address stating that
“hieromonks of the Order of Saint Basil the Great, Elijah A. Dohnal, Methodius R. Shpirzhyk, Markian V. Hitiuk and the priest Robert Oberhauser have declared that they have been consecrated bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. As the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, I wish to make known the following:
1. The Synod of Bishops of the UGCC never proposed the above-mentioned persons as candidates for the Episcopal office,
2. They have never received the blessing of the Roman Pontiff, as is required by ecclesial law,
3. thus, regardless of their announcement, they can not be regarded as bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
“…The clergy and religious are forbidden to welcome or to invite the abovementioned persons to perform any priestly function whatsoever,” wrote Patriarch Lubomyr.
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