A bunch of Ukrainian pilgrims held rallies in several locations, protesting against the visit of Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Constantinople. As is known, the churchman is supposed to arrive in Ukraine and serve a mass next to Kyiv's St. Sophia's Cathedral on August 22.
On Sunday, August 15, Ukrainian worshippers gathered near shrines of their eparchies, carrying posters with protests against Bartholomew's visit in Ukraine.
According to them, the pilgrims demand that the Patriarch pay attention to the issues of Orthodoxy in Ukraine, which "emerged in this country after the Orthodox Church of Ukraine gained Tomos", the document about church independence from the Moscow Patriarchate. The believers of Ukraine's Orthodox Church report "physical and moral violence caused by the worshippers of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine"; according to them, the passage of shrines under control of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine is not peaceful and voluntary. Instead, it resembles raiding, they say.
Worshippers of Ukraine's Orthodox Church are worried that the visit of Patriarch Bartholomew may provoke a "new wave of raids" on their shrines.
They carried the posters reading: "Bartholomew! Hands off the holy Lavras", "Holy Prince Volodymyr, protect us from Bartholomew!", "Stop Bartholomew's raids!", and "Patriarch Bartholomew! We, the Orthodox people of Ukraine, don't expect you here!".
Archbishop Ionah (Cherepanov), the head of Synodal Department for Youth Affairs of Ukraine's Orthodox Church, Superior of Holy Trinity Iona Monastery in Kyiv claimed that the worshippers "have really tasted the fruit of Bartholomew's love".
Certain worshippers claimed that Bartholomew was the one who "caused the schism of the Ukrainian Church". Churchgoers of the Odesa eparchy stated that the Patriarch "drove the wedge in the territory that Prince Volodymyr the Great united through baptization over 1,000 years ago".
A #StopBartholomew hashtag was launched in social networks; believers of Zaporizhya eparchy initiated it.