Sunday, July 10, 2011

Religious persecution alive and well in West Ukraine

Religious persecution alive and well in West Ukraine,

by guest author Roy Greene, and American Living in Lvov, Ukraine

Having passed through Poland and West Ukraine before I have encountered the random dislike of Americans who's only second language is Russian, and am pretty used to it. Having now settled here though I am realizing that there's a lot more to it. Very real, very current religious discrimination exists in Lvov today, and even Ukrainians from a bit east of Lvov, such as Ukraine's capital Kiev, experience it. The, very explicitly foreign funded, organizations fanning this ethnic-religious nationalism should be as ashamed as those paying tax dollars that donate heavily to these organizations.

Firstly, not long after arrival, I asked a police officer where I might find an Orthodox Church. (I didn't even say a 'Russian' Orthodox Church, or insist on a canonical one... ) He relayed that he used to be Orthodox but had become Catholic. Naively I figured that didn't mean we couldn't leave differences of opinion aside, and an officer of the law might be able to give me directions to an Orthodox Church. I got directed instead to a Catholic Monastary. Sighing, I walked to a cafe across the street where one student was able to point me to a Ukrainian Orthodox Kiev Patriarchate Church. Lucky for me the priest there was actually more than happy to tell me where the Russian church was and listen to my experiences about how I ended up in Lvov. I seriously think he was the least religiously antagonistic person I'd met thus far. I also think both he and I would feel more at home if I went off to find a parish where Russian was widely spoken, and probably not frowned upon. Thus I ended up visiting St. George's Cathedral, the center of the Moscow Patriarchate in Lvov.

Very soon after I met a Ukrainian tour guide who pointed out that such tactics are not uncommon. He also related the story of a person he'd recently met, an elderly woman attending a canonical parish in a small city near Lvov. Local nationalists, probably the same sort who keep spraying Pride with the Ukrainian crest replacing the 'i' (and no down more than implicitly referencing white pride movements) physically dragged her to a non-canonical parish to attend liturgy. Nothing says peace on earth like dragging old lady's to your phylitist parish.

I kind of figured by this point I'd heard the worst of things but not so. A few days latter I was lauding the concept of religious private schools. A few folks noted that in Ukraine a few minor religions have them but they'd never heard of any for the Orthodox Church. What they related next however made it clear why; most public schools essentially assume all children are 'good young Catholics' in West Ukraine. This meaning they end up being defacto forced to attend Catholic services and prayers on public property during school time, and forced as part of class grades to participate in religious celebrations derscribing, and corresponding to, Catholic holidays. In an added amount of sick religious persectuion it is common to encourage children to avoid Orthodox fasting in favor of the liberalized Catholic fasting, according to the Catholic calendar which does not correspond to the one of the Orthodox church. Imagine the horror if an American school only served up pig for the week of July fourth.

Bottom line is that public and private dollars are going to fuel and already festering divide in what is otherwise not a really bad place. Granted I find the 'casino-style' church repleate with neon crosses, and a massive concert setup for Ukraine's independance day disgusting, but I would be less disgusted if it weren't for the preferential treatment it's given. Apparently though Pope John Paul, II gives his approval to it, and the 'pay a few Ukrainian Kopeiks to light a fake candle for a minut' atmosphere inside. At least I can only assume so since on the bell tower there is a giant 70 foot tall banner with him giving the Catholic symbol of a blessing. Don't think May 9 was an issolated incident; it is only a symptom of the massive amounts of dollars the west is pooring into Ukraine in hopes of creating a religious war.


Juniper in the Desert said...

Roman Catholic colonialism, pretty disgusting. Can't stand the hitler youth roman pope anyway, but this is sickening.

vangelis sparta said...

i can see in your article how the west catholic church try to destroy the work that orthodox church make before centuries by spreading the orthodox faith from byzantium to the north nations.its very sad.someone would expect after the soviet union that the orthodox faith would have unite like the past the nations from greece to russia like a strong chain.but the catholics and the musulmans are strong enemies and destroy piece to piece this chain with the bless of course of our friends americans.and all this for the asolation of russia.they divide and conquer and they do it with success i must to admit.

Pervych said...

Проклят Еретические и Геноцида нечестивцы, аморально и незаконно иностранцах, которые приглашают себя в других землях народов, скрываясь за диетическим протоколов и т.д. никогда не может подвергаться преследованию достаточно!!! БОГ ПРОКЛИНАЕТ ИХ ВСЕ!!!