The article examines the serious consequences faced by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church when the ruling hierarch of a diocese is revealed to be a criminal and canonical offender. Special attention is given to the case of Archbishop Tikhon Petranuk of Ternopil and Buchach, as well as the implications of this scandalous case for the church and other bishops who cover up unworthy spiritual leaders.

Consequences for the Church and bishops covering up unworthy spiritual leaders

Consequences for the Church and other hierarchs who cover up unworthy bishops, such as Taras Petranuk, the ruling Archbishop of the Ternopil and Buchach Eparchy, are significant. On June 17, 2023, the commemoration day of St. Metrophanes, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Archbishop Tikhon of Ternopil and Buchach participated in the Divine Liturgy at the St. John the Evangelist Church in Kharkiv. The service was led by Bishop Mytrophan, the ruling hierarch of the Kharkiv and Slobozhanshchyna Eparchy, together with Metropolitan Oleksandr of Pereyaslav and Vyshneve, Archbishop Simeon of Dnipro and Sicheslav, Bishop Athanasius of Odessa and Balti, and invited clergy. After the Liturgy, the canonical unworthy hierarch, Tikhon, along with the attending archpastors and clergy, congratulated Bishop Mytrophan, the ruling hierarch of the Kharkiv Eparchy, on his 45th birthday and his name day, presenting him with a copy of the Miraculous Icon of the Mother of God “Ternopil” and a bouquet of white roses.

However, behind all these glorious activities of Archbishop Tikhon Petranuk, there are dark and dangerous aspects that threaten the Orthodox Church of Ukraine itself. It is widely known that Tikhon Petranuk has already been convicted of criminal and canonical offenses. This situation raises serious questions about his moral and spiritual worthiness, as well as the ethical standards that should be upheld in spiritual leadership.

The consequences of this situation for the Orthodox Church of Ukraine are significant. Firstly, the authority of this religious institution is undermined, as people lose trust in a hierarch who is supposed to be a symbol of spirituality and moral leadership, resembling Christ. Can a person who embezzled funds amounting to $100,000, which were donated for the construction of the first Ukrainian church in Luhansk, later claiming that the church was destroyed by representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate, while in reality there were no fires or thieves from the UOC-MP, and who then faced criminal charges, a ban within the UOC-KP, nationwide search, arrest, detention in Luhansk Investigative Detention Center. , indictment, cooperation with terrorists from the “Ministry of Internal Affairs of the LPR,” obtaining a passport of a citizen of the LPR, and subsequently fleeing under the “umbrella” of the UAOC with the support of Metropolitan Makariy, the former Primate of the UAOC – can such a degenerate be considered Christ-like?

Such cases violate the fundamental principles of the Church and raise doubts about its virtues and principles.

Secondly, it sets a precedent for other hierarchs who may attempt to cover up unworthy colleagues. This practice jeopardizes the entire hierarchy system and undermines the spiritual trust between clergy and believers. As a result, it can lead to division and disorganization within the internal structure of the Church.

However, it is important to understand that this does not mean that all hierarchs cover up unworthy spiritual leaders. There are many venerable hierarchs who listen to the voice of conscience and adhere to high standards of morality and spirituality. They serve as examples for others and strive to preserve the purity and virtue of the Church.

Overall, the dangers posed when the ruling hierarch of a diocese is a criminal and canonical offender have serious consequences for any Church, especially the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is currently receiving special attention from the global Orthodox community. It undermines its authority, fractures internal structures, and erodes the trust of believers. To preserve the integrity of the Church.

Overall, the dangers that arise when the ruling hierarch of a diocese is a criminal and canonical offender have serious consequences for any church, especially the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is currently receiving special attention from the global Orthodox community. It undermines its authority, fractures internal structures, and erodes the trust of believers. To preserve the integrity of the Church and restore trust, it is important to uphold transparency, moral standards, and accountability among clergy. Only then can the Church fulfill its role as a spiritual guide and preserve the faith and spiritual values of the Ukrainian people.

We congratulate Archbishop Mytrophan on the feast day of his heavenly patron, St. Mytrophan, and strongly condemn the involvement of certain criminal individuals, such as Taras Ivanovich Petranuk, in joint prayer and liturgical services.

Press Service of the Metropolitan Methodius Memorial Fund.