- The Upward Spiral: Transitions’ first solutions journalism podcast!
We, at Transitions, are excited to announce the launch of our first podcast series, The Upward Spiral, where we deconstruct solutions journalism and explore the opportunities and challenges when journalists undertake solutions-focused reporting!
Over the past 10 years, since the US-based Solutions Journalism Network launched its effort to change the way journalism is practiced, many misconceptions have surfaced. Some have assumed SJN and its partners, like us, are just pushing for more “happy news,” more stories of firemen saving kittens in trees and long-separated twins finally finding each other. Others have concluded that solutions journalism is just plain advocacy, that we are promoting, in PR-style, certain solutions over others. In this podcast, we plan to counter those misconceptions and more, but we are not going to do it alone. We will interview practitioners themselves – journalists and editors who have written insightful, moving stories about effective responses to some of society’s most pressing problems. We will talk to them about adopting a different approach to reporting on the world, and the challenges and opportunities that presents. What their personal obstacles were, for example, and whether they faced any friction in their newsrooms and among their colleagues.
If you have any questions, comments or interesting topics that you would like us to cover, please contact our solutions journalism programme manager, Meenal Thakur, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you enjoyed listening to our podcast and would like to know more about our work, follow us here for more solutions journalism-related resources, news, and our latest stories!
- Smart use of media: building resistance to misinformation through targeted training for journalists, teachers and the general public
The international conference “Smart use of media: Raising children and young people with
digital media and artificial intelligence” was held in Sarajevo on 27 October 2023.
Researchers and practitioners in the field of media pedagogy and media culture from Bosnia
and Herzegovina and the Czech Republic, as well as other countries of the European Union and
the Western Balkans, gathered in the Bosnian capital to discuss the use of digital media, social
networks and artificial intelligence in bringing up and educating children and young people, and
in guiding young people in the responsible and ethical use of these technologies.
The conference was held during the Days of Media and Information Literacy initiative in Bosnia
and Herzegovina and formed part of the project “Smart use of media: building resistance to
misinformation through targeted training for journalists, teachers and the general public,”
authored by Transitions in partnership with Mediacentar Sarajevo, with the financial support of
the Transition Promotion Program of the Government of the Czech Republic.
“This event was designed with an aim to bring experts from various disciplines together to
examine the best solutions for an effective and meaningful relationship with technological
developments and with the fact that technology is an integral part of parenting, education and
the overall upbringing of children,” said Selma Zulić Šiljak, a coordinator at Mediacentar
The conference was an opportunity to discuss the issues and challenges that young people face
in the media space, said the consul and head of the Department for Development Cooperation
at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in BiH, Štěpán Šantrůček.
“Strong and independent media is one of the pillars of democracy, as is the ability of the
population to think critically about media content. Therefore, I am very happy that we can
contribute to media education and literacy within this project,” said Šantrůček.
He added that the Czech Republic is a strong supporter of transition and democratic processes
in partner countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the country’s representatives can,
as he emphasized, share their experiences in building democratic institutions.
The use of artificial intelligence in schools, the impact of digital technologies on the mental
health of children and young people, and the support system for parents in creating media
habits for children, were some of the topics discussed during the conference. A second focus of
the day’s activities was developing strategies to stem the harmful influence of information and
“Children and young people are just as concerned about the impact of social media on their
mental health as adults. Everyone needs education and empowerment, including the children
themselves, but also teachers and parents, so that they can support them in the balanced use
of digital media,” said Ana Dokler, editor-in-chief of the medijskapismenost.hr portal.
Dr. Dragana Trninić, a communication researcher from the Faculty of Political Sciences of the
University of Banja Luka, said that parental control of children on the internet does not only
mean banning and restricting access, but should be proactive and enable children to use the
internet responsibly for various purposes.
Media education must also find its place within the existing school curriculum. Crucially, said Dr.
Vesima Čičkušić, an expert in the field of media literacy and media education, such education
should start early, from preschool age and from the first encounters with the world of media.
“Generally, even in the most developed educational systems, it is difficult for curriculum changes
to follow dynamic changes in the digital information and communication environment. Ensuring
that teaching is linked with life in general and changes in the environment is a demanding and
difficult task, which requires constant and large investments,” Čičkušić said.
For this reason, as she stated, the search for a more effective educational response should also
boost the readiness of teachers to take more innovative approaches in the classroom.
Tomáš Titěra, a researcher and educator in the field of media and information literacy at
Transitions, also spoke about the development of technology and artificial intelligence, which
has the potential to transform education.
“If artificial intelligence is used meaningfully, it can make learning more effective and support
critical thinking in children and young people,” he said.
The conference participants agreed that continuing education and research in the field of new
technologies is necessary, and that upbringing and education must follow the technological
development of the digital environment. See the event photos here.
- Transitions celebrates 10 years of Solutions Journalism!
Our dear friends and partners at the Solutions Journalism Network turn 10 this October! We celebrated their 10th anniversary in Prague together with our SJ partner newsrooms from across Central and Eastern Europe and SJ practitioners, educators and supporters from the Czech Republic! We were also joined online by Tina Rosenberg and David Bornstein, co-founders of SJN, who dialled in from New York to share SJN’s growth story and celebrate this big day with us. Check more photos here or watch our video. #SolutionsJournalismDay
- Join us in celebrating 10 years of solutions journalism!
Our dear friends and partners at the Solutions Journalism Network mark their 10th anniversary this October! What a great reason to celebrate!
It all started back in October 2013 with the collaboration of the SJN and the Seattle Times to create Education Lab. Ten years later, so much has changed! (Not Ed Lab, though. It’s still going strong at the Seattle Times!) Solutions journalism became international, and we are honored that we at Transitions have been part of the effort to bring it to Central & Eastern Europe and beyond.
So, let’s party (if you are in Prague or nearby)!
When: Friday, 13 October 2023, 17:30 – 19:30
Where: Villa Grébovka, Havlíčkovy sady 58, 120 00 Prague 2
17:30 Meet & Greet
17:45 Welcome remarks from Jeremy Druker, Transitions executive director
18:00 Tina Rosenberg & David Bornstein
18:30 End of the official part: Party Time!
19:30 Conclusion of the event
If you have questions, please contact Lucie Černá, Transitions
- Apolitical Foundation’s Possibility of Politics List
We are proud to announce that Transitions’ Knowledge Center for Solutions Journalism has been honored by the Apolitical Foundation in their list alongside 50 individual journalists from around the world writing about the potential of politics to address today’s biggest issues and shape a better future!
- SoJo Newsroom Cohort Produces First Results
Transitions has now proudly expanded its solutions journalism work beyond supporting freelancers and staff journalists to newsrooms! Last year we launched our very first solutions journalism cohort of newsrooms with five newsrooms, including a Ukraine-based solutions media outlet, Rubryka; the Slovak daily Dennik N; the Bosnian news outlet, e-Trafika; the Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT; and the Czech monthly magazine Reporter. Thanks to a generous donor, Transitions was then able to hand out subgrants to the newsrooms for them to work on solutions-oriented projects.
Even before our cooperation started, LRT had integrated the solutions journalism format into virtually all its output – television, radio, and digital. In this case, the newsroom formed a team specifically for the solutions journalism project “LRT looking for solutions.” Starting with a story on how Lithuania wants to abolish children’s homes, the team reported cross-border solutions stories from Finland and Estonia on the transition from institutional to family- and community-based services for children who have been left without parental care. Also check out their TV report and radio discussion on the topic (in Lithuanian).
Rubryka’s solutions stories on Ukrainian farmers overcoming war challenges and subways as a concert venue explain local solutions to a foreign audience in the context of the everyday Ukrainian reality of living in a war-torn country.
Dennik N took to education, exploring how Slovakia – which suffers from an acute shortage of kindergartens and primary schools – can successfully build more schools in their story: What should a modern school look like that will prepare children for life in 2035. You can find an English-language translation that Transitions published here.
Primary and secondary education in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not free, even though it is presented as such. Students do not have to pay school fees, but they do have to pay for overpriced books, transportation to school, snacks, school trips, and other things that significantly burden the household budget. In its three-part project, eTrafika highlights local responses to tackle this problem in the cities of Brčko, where Free Transportation is a big relief for families; Banja Luka, where meals are being provided for poor students; and Sarajevo where students are being provided free textbooks.
Inclusive education was a big theme among the cohort, as evident also by the story from our Czech partner, Reporter. Their story followed a little boy called Vasek – who has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome – and talked about the state of inclusion in the Czech educational system. A Second Year with Vasek. A report about how we can (not) take care of different children highlights the experience of Vasek and how we can make our education system more inclusive.
Big applause to these newsrooms for bringing these issues – and solutions – to light and not just settling for describing the problem!
- International Call for Pitches
Transitions is announcing a call for microgrants for journalists interested in developing solutions stories. In addition to financial support, we are also offering mentoring during the entire production of the article to achieve the highest possible quality. The stipends start at 250 euros, but may be more depending on the length and type of story. The grants are for stories from Central and Eastern Europe.
Story pitches must be submitted in English and you are supposed to prepare the article in English for an international audience. But don’t worry, your English doesn’t have to be perfect. We will provide you with an English speaking editor and also, if necessary, we can arrange mentoring in your native language. The stories will be published in Transitions Magazine. However, you are also free to publish the article in your own publication in your native language.
What is Solutions Journalism and why is it important?
Solutions Journalism is rigorous reporting about existing responses to society’s problems. It not only spotlights problems but also follows an evidence-based analysis of existing solutions. Such reporting enhances knowledge and accountability by providing the whole story to readers and offers constructive content in an age of media apathy.
Read more about what solutions journalism is (and what it isn’t) and find some inspiring stories reported by our grantees at the Transitions Knowledge Center for Solutions Journalism.
Before you submit your pitch…
We strongly recommend taking the free course Solutions Journalism: Reporting on Effective Responses to Society’s Problems to be sure you understand the basics of this approach. In our experience, those who have already taken the course or reviewed related resources are much more likely to receive funding.
Examples of solutions stories can be found here.
Basic criteria for pitching a solutions story
Your pitch should…
- Demonstrate high-quality journalism (rigorous reporting)
- Describe an existing response to a social problem and how it works in detail (it does not present theories and claims of “should be”)
- Show evidence of the impact of the solution (not just good intentions)
What we will consider when evaluating your pitch
- Does it focus on a concrete solution?
- Does the solution have clearly defined objectives and the activities leading to their achievement?
- What is the social importance of the topic and its contribution to public debate?
- What is the professional credibility of the author/editorial staff and the individuals involved in the pitch?
Application and what happens next
If you want to apply, please fill in the APPLICATION FORM.
Pitches must be submitted in English (don’t worry it doesn’t have to be perfect English!). We will be accepting pitches on a running basis.
The grant recipients will have six weeks to publish their work.
After publishing the story, the grantee is required to submit a report of a minimum of 4,000 characters on his/her practical experience with the use of solutions journalism and to agree that Transitions and/or the Solutions Journalism Network may use all or parts of the final report for promotional or training purposes.
If you have questions, please contact Jeremy Druker: email@example.com or Meenal Thakur: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Solutions Journalism at the United Nations
On Wednesday June 7th, Jeremy Druker, Transitions Executive Director and Editor in Chief, travelled to Vienna, Austria on invitation from the United Nations communications office to explore how solutions journalism can help improve global messaging. Working with both UN communicators and journalism students from across Central Eastern Europe, he discussed ways the UN can implement effective solutions strategies for audiences across the world. Discussion on impact was shared as the communicators and students conveyed personal experiences in their home countries. After the conference, the UN expressed their gratitude for such workshops and weren’t surprised by its positive outcome. At Transitions we strive for solutions journalism to reach a broader audience, and know this has been a large step towards that. If you, like the United Nations, are interested in learning more about solutions journalism or would like to attend a workshop, visit https://transitionsmedia.org/
- Solutions Journalism workshop
Transitions organised a two-day workshop on Solution Journalism on 16th and 17th May as a part of the “Just EU and ME” project funded by the European Commission. The workshop was attended by over 100 participants including students, youth activists and media professionals. The trainers from Transitions – Jeremy Druker, Executive Director and Meenal Thakur, Programme Manager and guest speakers Jocelyn Timperely, freelance climate journalist and Jakub Górnicki, co-founder at Poland based Outriders media, guided the participants through the principles and practices of solutions journalism, a new approach to reporting that emphasizes the potential of solutions to social issues, rather than just the problems. Over the course of two days, the participants learnt how to apply the four pillars of solutions journalism to their reporting, discovered how climate-focused solutions reporting can pave the way for climate action, and explored how to re-engage audiences through solutions journalism using innovative multimedia formats to publish stories. The interactive exercises, group discussions, and inspiring case studies helped the participants gain new skills and insights to bring solutions journalism to their work. The workshop received positive feedback and the encouraging comments about the quality of the sessions are a great boost to our efforts, at Transitions, to help journalists and newsrooms approach a solutions-oriented approach to their reporting and create impact.
The workshop was organised within the JUST EU and ME project, funded by the European Union’s Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) Programme (2021-2027).
#JUSTEUandME #europeanpillarofsocialrights #solutionsjournalism
- Radiodays Europe Conference
The last week of March saw hundreds of radio industry professionals and enthusiasts – from senior editors and producers to independent podcasters and young audio content creators – gather in Prague to discuss the future of radio, audio, and podcasting at the 13th annual Radiodays Europe conference. Over three days from 26-28 March, the event featured panel discussions and sessions on topics ranging from inclusion and diversity, advertising and new business models for radio, to the power of AI in broadcasting.
Adding to the conversation, Transitions’ Jeremy Druker and Meenal Thakur argued for the adoption of solutions journalism in the audio world to rebuild trust and re-engage audiences. In their session, “Increase news engagement (and revenue!): The case for solutions journalism,” they spoke about how solutions journalism aims to inspire audiences and create real-world impact by reporting on responses to social problems. Using research-based evidence and examples of solutions-oriented reporting, their presentation showcased how this approach to reporting leads to increased audience engagement, a more positive attitude toward the news, and greater potential for revenue generation.
- Rubryka Panel Event
It’s not often in Central and Eastern Europe that a news outlet takes the concept of solutions journalism and adopts it as thoroughly as Rubryka, Ukraine’s leading SoJo practitioner and one of the region’s brightest SoJo stars. These days that has meant, unfortunately, showing how solutions journalism can be effective even in times of war.
To coincide with the news outlet’s fifth anniversary, Rubryka hosted a panel discussion in March that included Tina Rosenberg, co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network, and Meenal Thakur, solutions journalism project coordinator at Transitions, along with other journalists from Rubryka. The panelists spoke about how a solutions-oriented approach can serve to show the power of the community by sharing stories of resilient Ukrainians who are finding successful responses to the many problems in a war-torn country. This approach has led to increased readership of Rubryka as people feel more hopeful and engaged with the news after reading solutions stories.
We are also proud to say that Rubryka is one of the five newsrooms to be a part of Transitions’ first solutions journalism cohort.
- Solutions Panel in Sarajevo
Solutions journalism is fast gaining practitioners as news organizations in Europe embrace its constructive approach to journalism. Transitions, as a hub of solutions-oriented reporting in CEE, is making many efforts to spread its adoption in the region, including in post-conflict societies like that of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Continuing to support local media and journalists, our partner, Mediacentar Sarajevo, organized a panel discussion on 15 February about the benefits of solutions journalism in Bosnia. This event was funded by Transitions’ solutions journalism program, and moderated by the editor-in-chief of Media.ba, Marija Arnautovic. The panel was composed of Vanja Stokic, editor-in-chief of Banja Luka-based online media outlet eTrafika; Vladimira Dorcova Valtner, editor-in-chief of Storyteller from Serbia; and Anida Sokol, a researcher and solution journalism trainer from Mediacentar Sarajevo. eTrafika is a member of the first solutions journalism cohort in CEE, which Transitions launched at the end of 2022.
A total of 30 participants attended the panel, mostly journalists from various media, including the Balkan Investigative Journalism Network, UNA TV, Start magazine, Al Jazeera Balkans, RTRS, FTV, and BN TV, as well as journalism students and representatives of some civil rights organizations, such as Civil Rights Defenders.
The panel discussed what constitutes constructive and solution-oriented journalism, how to produce short TV news reports following SoJo principles, and how to compete with low-quality, sensationalist, and “copy-pasted” online articles. The all-women panel also discussed the experiences of female journalists who engaged in solution journalism and how one can apply solutions journalism to reporting on social problems, marginalized social groups, and environmental topics. A workshop followed the talk where participants – journalists and journalism students – learned more about the principles of solution-oriented journalism and the craft of writing such stories.
Photos – A panel discussion on advantages of solutions journalism organized by our local partner Mediacentar at Holiday Hotel in Sarajevo (Photos credits: Mediacentar Sarajevo). More photos here.
- “Moscow Patriarchate is a terrorist organization that must be banned immediately.”
In March this year, the 33-year-old rector of the Holy Resurrection New Athos Monastery in Lviv, Father Job (Olshansky) and his parish transferred from the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) to the Lviv Eparchy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
By Tetyana Metyk
Fr. Job is a native Kyivite. He is quite an educated person. He graduated from the Poltava Missionary Seminary in Horishni Plavni, studied for three years at the Master program in Rome at the Institute of Eastern Canon Law at the Eastern Pontifical Institute, lived for four years and took vows in a Greek monastery on Mount Athos. He also studied International Relations at the University of Economics and Law “KROK” and Theatre at the Kyiv National I. K. Karpenko-Karyi Theatre, Cinema and Television University. He talked about being “in the bosom” of the Moscow Patriarchate and why, in his opinion, it is necessary to ban the Moscow Patriarchate at the state level in an exclusive interview for the “Vysokyi Zamok”.
– What prompted you to leave the Moscow Patriarchate?
– The first and fundamental turning point for me was the military actions in Ukraine, Russian aggression and its support by the Moscow Patriarchate. No logically thinking person can question whether it is a church if it supports the mass murder of people and violation of God’s commandments. Previously, I tried to avoid the issue of politics. I believe that people come to church not to hear about the state or social events but to meet with Christ.
– How did you get to Mount Athos? And what sentiments about Ukraine, particularly about the Tomos (the document granting the Ukrainian Church the autocephalous status), prevailed there?
– In Greece, I intended to participate in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki’s doctoral program and defend a scientific work on “Autocephaly in the Orthodox Churches”. In Rome, I defended my Master’s thesis on the same topic. I needed permission from the Moscow Patriarchate to continue my studies, and it was 2014. And I did not receive it.
While I lived there, in the Greek monastery of Vatopedi, there was no mention of the “Russian world”. Instead, there was an absolute vacuum of Greek Orthodoxy until 2018, when the Ukrainian Church was granted autocephalous status. My monastery supported the Tomos, and representatives of the OCU even served in it. It was a bit strange for me then because we were talking about people whom the Russian Church called schismatics. A small number of monasteries on Mount Athos supported the Ukrainian Church, and not openly. There were different opinions there, including that the initiators of the Tomos were schismatics and ungodly.
– But why, since Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew supported the recognition of the one local autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine?
– Do not forget about sponsors from Moscow who support Athos monasteries. Our monastery was also sponsored mainly by Russians. But the abbot was free to express his views. He did not openly support the Tomos but said that it was not a matter of faith and dogma but a matter of administrative subordination. He said grace does not depend on whether the church is subordinated to the Moscow Patriarch or the Metropolitan of Kyiv. He is a wise man. He is Greek and Cypriot by nationality. I had to return to Ukraine for health reasons and stayed here. I moved to Lviv and the church on Korolenko Street. (on September 29, at the session of the Lviv City Council, it was decided to rename Korolenko Street to Taras Bobanych “Hammer” Street – ed.) I was ordained a deacon there, then a priest. Later I was appointed here as the abbot of the monastery.
– What influence did the Moscow Patriarchate have on you?
– I was in the Russian church for two and a half years. But I always held free views. I never preached that the OCU are schismatics or ungodly. I said that they were our brothers who had different opinions. I said that we could not condemn people because they love their country and want to pray in a language they understand. The Moscow Patriarchate traditionally preserves the Church Slavonic language, and I had to work hard to explain the liturgical texts. It is absurd when a priest reads the Gospel text during the service, which no one understands, and then explains what it was about. I was a stranger among my own because I was always treated with distrust.
One priest said about me: “This is the Trojan horse of Patriarch Bartholomew. He wants to convert everyone to the union!” It was challenging. And yet there was a circle of pro-Ukrainian priests with whom we communicated closely. Almost all of them have moved to the OCU or the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The circle of our communication has remained the same.
– Can we say that all the clergy members who have a pro-Ukrainian position have left the Moscow Patriarchate? And those who have not transferred, respectively, have different views. Are there no obstacles to changing your affiliation?
– The obstacles are their own bias or dependence on the Russian church. Some of them are also dependent on Russian special services.
– How do you view the “separation” council of the UOC-MP, which adopted amendments to the statute (the principal regulations of the church institution), which allegedly levelled the dependence on Russia?
– This is a deception to calm society and relieve tensions. I am surprised by our state, which succumbed to this deception—the neutral position of our president and civil servants in general. The basis of their statute is the charter of Patriarch Alexy I, “On independence and autonomy within the Russian Orthodox Church”. Are people so stupid that they cannot understand: the first paragraph of the new charter says that this structure belongs to the Moscow Patriarchate. I am tired of explaining it. And they say: “This does not mean anything.” If it did not mean anything, half of the Kyivan churches of the Moscow Patriarchate would not commemorate Patriarch Kirill during the service.
– But now they seem to have decided not to commemorate him.
– They still commemorate him! On the second day after the council in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, they continued to commemorate Kirill. You see, this is absurd! No, it’s just that our people are considered subpar, second-class, and stupid.
– And what about the submitted draft laws to ban the Moscow Patriarchate?
– These draft laws are excellent. They contradict our Constitution, but we live in other realities in the conditions of war. Firstly, they need to be finalized regarding the proclamation of the Moscow Patriarchate as a terrorist organization and the fifth column because that’s the truth. I know this structure from the inside. Secondly, on these grounds, to ban the Patriarchate as one that harms state sovereignty.
– Do you have something to say to support your statement as someone who knows the Moscow Patriarchate from the inside…
– In the first days of the full-scale invasion of Russia, we gathered together with the clergy of the Lviv diocese under the leadership of the Metropolitan for a “beautiful” prayer service “for peace”. What kind of peace could there be? I was black with anger because my parents and grandparents were in a bomb shelter in Kyiv at that time. And my father joined the Armed Forces.
I heard with my ears the sermons of priests that we are a triune people, that we are “inseparable” from the Russians, and so on.
– Even in Lviv?
– Of course. You do not have to look long, go to the catacomb church of the Trinity on Antonovycha Street, and you will hear there the Russian language and about Banderites, Zhidobanderites, etc. They have among their saints: Nicholas II, Ivan the Terrible, Grigory Rasputin… People came to me bewildered and told me that the church’s rector claimed that Stalin was a blessing of God. And he said this during the war! They get so carried away. They cannot pray in Ukrainian because “God does not hear prayers said not in a holy language”.
– But who goes there?
– There is a lot of Russian-speaking population, and they are active. People from all over the Lviv region come to the Trinity Church. All the centres where there were churches of the Moscow Patriarchate, but the priests were patriotic and left the Patriarchy, for example, Mostyska and Truskavets.
They believe that they stand for the truth, for Christ, and that they are martyrs for the truth. And their truth is that the church cannot be divided and that the Moscow Patriarchate is the only thing that holds them together. The true canonical Orthodox, all others have lost their away…
– Do they curse you?
– Yes, of course. All unwanted ones are. As am I. I’m a dissident, a Uniate, a Banderite, a fascist.
– Did the position of your relatives also influence your decision?
– My family, though Russian-speaking, is patriotic. My relatives were at the Revolution of Dignity, and my father participated in the ATO. They did not share my admiration for the Moscow church. My father cried with joy when I left it. Recently I buried my grandmother in the Cherkasy region. I grew up there, and everyone knows me. But the local priest did not want to let me into the church, which belongs to the Moscow Patriarchate, as an apostate. He did not want to allow me to perform the funeral service for my grandmother. Local people do not know how to react to this. They are lied to that it is a Ukrainian church. The problem is that many people fall for these lies. The Orthodox Church of Ukraine does little explanatory work. We need to be more active. Bishops and leaders on the ground should be more active. I know great examples of the excellent work of Metropolitan Mykhailo. In Volyn, 60 parishes have transferred, and this is a lot.
– How many more parishes of the Moscow Patriarchy are left in the Lviv region?
– There are twenty parishes in the Lviv region. In Lviv, there are three. Until now, the church in Sykhiv, which burns from time to time, will not burn out. On Antonovycha and Korolenko streets. They even had an increase in parishioners during the war because of displaced persons. In the Ivano-Frankivsk region, according to official data, there are none left. In one church, they officially registered the parish of the OCU, but the Moscow Patriarchate still serves there. They did it so that they would not be harassed.
– Did you have any troubles or conflicts because of the decision to leave the Moscow Patriarchate?
– I was intimidated, blackmailed…
– By whom?
– Representatives of the metropolis. I will not disclose the details, but it was very unsavoury. Metropolitan Filaret and representatives of the diocese spread slander about me among other priests and parishioners, saying that I am mentally ill, a psychopath and that they should avoid me. The rector of the church on Antonovycha Street, Father Volodymyr, when the Russian consulate was still here, spent a lot of his time there. What was he doing there? Metropolitan Filaret, in my particular situation, used secret police methods. They interfered with my personal affairs and my private life.
– But you didn’t give in.
– There had nothing on me.
– So, there may be others who didn’t transfer because of this situation.
– Yes, obviously, if they have something on them. They used other methods against me because they couldn’t influence my decision otherwise. They said I illegally stayed in the monastery, called me a church raider, and said I seized property. The Moscow Patriarchate still owns the buildings of the monastery.
– And what can be done about it?
– We need the help of the authorities. This building is on the balance sheet of the regional council. The city promised us, and I hope it will help – to take the land back. The large building of the monastery (dated XVIII century), which is now being repaired, used to be a military hospital, so it was on the balance sheet of the Ministry of Defense. They transferred it to the state’s balance sheet, which gave it to the private property of the Moscow Patriarchate. It is necessary to appeal the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers to transfer a military facility to the state. This has been a project for several years. I hope that someday Ukraine will have a law on the property of the Moscow Patriarchate, which will be transferred to the ownership of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. I would not like to lose these buildings because I am looking for funds and invest in repairs. We need to develop to live. New people come to me, novices. The monastery is evolving.
Unfortunately, such unique monuments as the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra or Pochayiv Monastery are occupied. And it’s occupied by the fifth column, which now only pretends that it is not so.
– Why are these processes slowed down?
– There is ignorance of people and bias of the authorities. Metropolitan Filaret (Kucherov) complains that he is oppressed and that his freedom is contested. He plays to be poor and unhappy and knocks on all doors. He has a lot of connections in Kyiv. He may one day come here to kick me out.
You see, they show a picture that the churches of the OCU are empty, but did you see the Cross Procession to the Pochayiv Lavra? And how many people there were!
– And with Russian tricolours! And no one prosecutes them…
– Sometimes, the authorities are indifferent to church issues. I cannot imagine that Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia if Russia went to war there, would tolerate the Russian Moscow Patriarchate on their territory.
Only “adepts of the Russian world” are “the waiting ones” in the occupied territories because of their church and religious beliefs. I am serious right now. Those old ladies in scarves, coming out of the temple in Severodonetsk, who were handed these Ribbons of Saint George… “We have been waiting for you. We love you so much,” they told the occupiers. These are parishioners of a particular religious structure…
When I was at the front as a volunteer chaplain, I was asked what church I belonged to. Because after the priests from the Moscow Patriarchate came to visit our guys, their positions were shelled. And our military died. Here we need the cooperation of both the state and the church. The Orthodox Church of Ukraine has many internal problems. There must be unity, cohesion, and mutual support. And a lot of explanatory work in cooperation with the state authorities. If the state wants to win this war, it must fight on all fronts, including the religious one. The spiritual front is one of the highest priorities at this time.
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