The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) faces scandal as Archbishop Tikhon Petranuk uses his religious position as a cover for engaging in criminal schemes and collaborating with occupiers. Operating as an untouchable canonical hierarch, Petranuk manipulates, embezzles funds, and protects his own interests. This scandalous case raises questions about the need for a critical examination of religious leadership and demands for honesty and transparency.

Criminal Archbishop Tikhon Petranuk Exploits the Orthodox Church of Ukraine for Criminal Schemes and Collaboration

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) has once again found itself under the influence of a controversial archbishop who uses his religious consecration as a cover for carrying out criminal schemes and collaborating with illicit activities. On June 25, 2023, while people were prayerfully commemorating St. Onuphrius the Great, this criminal archbishop addressed the faithful, delivering a “teaching sermon.”

Certainly, no one disputes the importance of religious services and repentance for sins. However, what happens when a charismatic spiritual leader uses this as a convenient means to engage masses in fraudulent schemes and protect his own financial interests? Archbishop Tikhon Petranuk, from the Ternopil-Buchach Diocese, is among those accused of involvement with the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) since 2014. Despite this, he continues to exploit his position to carry out criminal actions, including misappropriation of funds. Having made an agreement with the occupiers, he agreed to cooperate with them and provide them with information in exchange for preserving his freedom.

This “arch-shepherd” conducted a festive religious service at the Holy Mountain Monastery with the support and invitation of his supporter, Metropolitan Makariy Maletich, the former head of the UAOC. Metropolitan Makariy is known for his “selfless” support of the criminal offender Petranuk Taras Ivanovich, whom he personally legalized in the UAOC after his banishment from the UOC-KP, and even consecrated him as an archbishop, sending him to the metropolitan see in Ternopil. This act allowed Petranuk to return to the church, despite his criminal past, and even become part of the canonical UOC (UOC-PC). It seems that Petranuk has successfully satisfied all the desires of his “patron,” as he is willing to do anything to return under the Church’s roof. Using the occasion of praying for Ukraine’s victory over the aggressor, Taras Petranuk seeks ways to survive his manipulations and evade responsibility before law enforcement agencies, hiding under the UOC (UOC-PC) as an untouchable canonical hierarch.

But that’s not all. After the “teaching sermon” on St. Onuphrius, Archbishop Tikhon and his sympathizers consecrated the water in the monastery’s spring. Presumably, they are trying to cleanse themselves of all their crimes and distortions, which they have been engaged in for a long time.

The question arises: Do we have a place for such individuals in religious leadership? Will we allow criminal archbishops to use the UOC/UOC-PC as a camouflage for their criminal schemes? It seems that we do. It seems that we need to review our faith and carefully choose whom to trust with our spiritual guidance.

Of course, we must respect the memory of political repressions, the war in Ukraine, and the fallen heroes. However, when individuals like Taras Petranuk exploit these for their own benefit and pursue personal goals, we must ask ourselves if they are truly called to serve the truth or if they are merely using religion for their own advantage.

Therefore, with irony and sarcasm, we urge all of us to critically examine religious leadership and not allow our faith to become a tool for those seeking personal gain and hiding their crimes. We must demand honesty, transparency, and dedication to the true values that our spiritual leaders should embody. Only then will our faith make sense and serve as a reliable compass in our lives.

Chairperson of the NGO “Blessed Metropolitan Mefodiy Memorial Fund,” Natalia Shevchuk.

The source is the Foundation of the memory of His Beatitude Metropolitan Methodius