The war in Ukraine has been going on for more than three months. These are three months in which it became clear to everyone how much Croatia needs its Croatian Orthodox Church. From the first day, all Croatian media, all Croatian politicians, compare the Russian aggression against Ukraine with the Serbian-Yugoslav aggression against Croatia in the early 1990s. The scenario seems to be the same – first a “vulnerable” minority rebels, then a “big brother” comes to help her – once against the “Ustasha”, now against the “Nazis”.

Let us remember how in October 2018, the Metropolitan of the Serbian Orthodox Church Amfilohije stated: “After the disintegration of two states – the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia – the church remained the only mechanism for maintaining our unity.” Of course, as far as Croatia is concerned, he means the SOC, and for Ukraine the RPC.

On May 4, 2022, IKA announced that a meeting of the Bishops’ Commission of the CBC for Ecumenism was held with Bishop Jovan Ćulibrk (former member of the military unit „Niš special“) “on the ecumenical dimension of synodal counseling and pastoral approach to refugees from Ukraine in Croatia” and that “Bishop Jovan conveyed the position of Croatian bishops how war victims from Ukraine should be accepted as refugees, providing them with full humanitarian support, but that pastoral care for all Orthodox of any jurisdiction without any involvement in the issue of jurisdiction to which they belong in Ukraine should be taken over by the Serbian Orthodox Church. ” And at the urging of the CBC, the Serbian Orthodox Church has taken responsibility for Ukrainian refugees in Croatia, but in what way?

On June 24, 2022, the canonically and secularly non-existent so-called “SPC in Croatia” on its website, the Department for External Church Relations of the UPC publishes the following:

“The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has appointed a priest to take care of compatriots in Croatia

His Beatitude Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine Onufrie gave the blessing that the priest Andrei Ivanenko be sent to Croatia to take care of the spiritual needs of Ukrainian refugees. The appointment of a clergyman in Croatia, whose territory belongs to the canonical jurisdiction of the Serbian Orthodox Church, has been agreed with its head, His Holiness Patriarch Porphyry. “

Serbian media rejoice! Why? Because the RPC and the SPC decided to send an RPC priest to Croatia without even asking Croatia for an opinion.

The church organization called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, whose head is the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine Onufrije, is not an independent church but a branch of the RPC – Moscow Patriarchate, which is deliberately kept silent in the mentioned text.

At the beginning of 2019 , the Patriarchate of Constantinople renewed the autocephaly of the church organization called the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, whose head is the Metropolitan of Kiev Epiphanius.

With its decision not to recognize the PCU , the SPC entered into a schism with the PCU but also with the Patriarchate of Constantinople. RPC-MP had done the same before her.

It is worth noting that on April 3, 2022, RIA Novosti published:

“In a speech to the army today, Russian Patriarch Kirill called for the destruction of Ukraine.” [1]

We in Croatia are used to the Serbian church behaving like an occupier, but it is not the fault of that, but the Croatian state government, which maintains it despite the fact that the church is not registered in the Republic of Croatia and on the basis of a null and void agreement signed by Ivica Račan in 2002. .

However, we need to ask some questions:

1. Who pays that priest: Moscow, Belgrade or, as it always happens in the end, Zagreb?

2. Who is his employer?

3. Who pays pension and health insurance for him?

4. Did that priest get a residence permit and a work permit to work in the Republic of Croatia?

5. Who pays him accommodation and utilities?

6. Isn’t that contrary to the sanctions to which the Russian Federation and the Moscow Patriarchate and its autonomous church components are organically connected?

What is happening in Croatia now is that the SOC is taking care of the Ukrainian refugees with the help of the RPC-Moscow Patriarchate, which incited Ukraine and is one of the initiators and blessings of the war. So those who caused the war will now take care of the war refugees they produced themselves.

So, let’s summarize:

1. The RPC-MP, which is the Orthodox Church of Russia, supports Russia’s policy, including the war against Ukraine.

2. The Serbian Orthodox Church, which is the Orthodox Church of Serbia, supports the policy of Serbia, which supports Russia in the war against Ukraine.

3. For years, the Republic of Croatia has persistently refused to register the Croatian Orthodox Church, which is the Orthodox Church of Croatia and which, by definition, must support its state on fundamental issues of the highest state interest.

4. The SPC, which is not registered in the Republic of Croatia, brings a priest RPC-MP, who is also not registered in the Republic of Croatia.

5. Instead of taking care of Croatia’s own Orthodox Church, the Republic of Croatia takes care of the Orthodox Church of Serbia and pays it abundantly so that it can work freely against Croatia and even support the RPC-MP, which means directly supporting the Russian war against Ukraine.

Recently, the EU institutions named the Serbian Orthodox Church as a disruptive factor in the Western Balkans [2] . American think tanks also detected it as a reporting and promotional institution in the external form of a religious organization [3] . The Republic of Croatia, which supports EU sanctions against Russia imposed to force Russia to give up the war, has for years maintained on its territory the disruptive factor and Russia’s extended arm here known as the SOC, and is now bringing in even a proven RPC-MP priest. disruptive factor in Ukraine.

All this is insane and it seems that such madness can only happen in the Republic of Croatia because no priest of the aggressor Russian church has come to any other EU member state to take care of the expelled Ukrainians.

We, the Croatian Orthodox Church, will report this situation to His Eminence Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kiev, Head of the PCU, and will continue to provide assistance to all Ukrainians in Croatia in accordance with our capabilities. Let them join our prayers for peace in Ukraine and our prayers in general, because prayer is a medicine for the soul, which we all and always need.

“Does anyone among you suffer? Let him pray! ”The fervent prayer of the righteous can do much.” (James 5: 13,17)


[1] RIA NOVOSTI dated April 3, 2022.




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