Natalia Shevchuk, the head of the “Memory Fund of Blessed Metropolitan Mefodiy,” shared memories of the tragic death of the Primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), Metropolitan Kyiv and All Ukraine Mefodiy Kudryakov, and paid tribute to a great person who was a teacher, leader, friend, and inspired conscious life.

Remembering a great person who inspired conscious life – lives forever

Eight years ago, my life changed dramatically. A person who was everything to our community – a teacher, leader, friend, and an inspiring personality who encouraged conscious living – passed away.

Today, our Metropolitan Mefodiy would have turned 74 years old if not for his tragic death in 2015. On March 11, bishops, clergy, friends, family, government officials, public figures, and religious leaders from all corners of Ukraine gathered at the gates of the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ in Ternopil to greet a very special person whom everyone sincerely respected and loved – the bishop.

While Metropolitan Mefodiy was alive, none of us – his close circle of assistants and friends – even imagined what it would be like to live without him. The Blessed One left this life prematurely. Of course, we knew he was seriously ill. And, undoubtedly, we realized that the burdens he took on himself could shorten his life. But none of us thought that everything could happen so dramatically and quickly.

He left this life just as he lived – as a true man who was accustomed not to burden anyone with his problems. Everything happened as if he died due to a conscious choice – not to burden anyone with his illness.

I am sincerely grateful for my fate that I had the opportunity to work and be friends with the Blessed Metropolitan Mefodiy. The bishop had his, sometimes dramatic and difficult, relationships with the hierarchs of the UOC-Kyiv and Moscow Patriarchates. But Metropolitan Mefodiy was a flexible person, and the dream of his entire life was to unite Orthodox Ukrainians within the embrace of a single, recognized by the world Orthodoxy, and truly independent from Moscow, Orthodox Church. The dream of Metropolitan Mefodiy was realized in 2018, already after his death.
The question of the unification of Orthodox Christians in Ukraine is still acute today, unfortunately, a large part of Ukrainian Orthodox believers remain within the UOC (in unity with the Moscow Patriarchate). Therefore, those who are faithful to the autocephalous UOC/PCU should do everything possible to unite the entire Orthodox people around one local church. What does His Beatitude expect from us today? Pleasant words addressed to him personally? Or real actions that would help us, Orthodox Ukrainians, to unite around the one Holy Church of Ukraine? Bishop Mefodiy said: “The Church is a place where the struggle for ideas and concepts takes place, not a place where people fight for power.” Circumstances in church life are changing, but ideas and concepts continue to live for centuries.” It is sad today, especially to realize that personalities are passing away, and the ideas they defended or fought for remain in history. I believe and hope that the Lord Jesus Christ has accepted Bishop Mefodiy into His Heavenly Kingdom, and our Friend and Teacher is now near the Throne of the Lord’s glory. There, from the perspective of eternity and the Kingdom of God, everything that happens here on our sinful earth is seen differently. In the Kingdom of God’s glory, there is no struggle for power and primacy. There is no spirit of competition. For the residents of the Heavenly Kingdom, it is no longer important who on earth or in heaven has more honor or privileges. But for the heavenly Church, as well as for us, church unity is important. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another,” said the Lord (John 13:35). Let us be worthy disciples of Christ the Savior. Let us cover all our misunderstandings with love and do everything in our power to unite our church community as soon as possible. And let the memory of the outstanding fighter for our church independence – the venerable Metropolitan Мefodiya never fade in the united and local Ukrainian Church.

Author: Natalia Shevchuk, Head of the NGO “Memory Fund of Blessed Metropolitan Methodius”
Date: March 11, 2023 AD

Source – Фонд пам’яті Блаженнішого Митрополи…