The destroyed Transfiguration Cathedral in Odessa, July 23, 2023. Photo: Konstiantyn and Vlada Liberov

Ukraine: A disaster to have a patriarch who first consecrated the church and then blessed the missile that destroyed it

A shelling of central Odessa by Russian missiles destroyed the Transfiguration Cathedral, which Moscow Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev consecrated in 2010.

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(ZENIT News / Odesa, 07.25.2023).- “We have to comprehend this, and we have to realize it. But we have just deliberated how one can deny Christ by deeds and actions,” said the Head of the UGCC about the Russian shelling of Odesa.

In this context, His Beatitude Sviatoslav called for compassion, in particular for the faithful of the Transfiguration Cathedral.

“I think the people who used to attend that cathedral to pray are crying today. And we need to commiserate with them. Because today a Russian missile hit not just the sanctuary of their church. It hit them in the very heart. Just think: to have a patriarch who first consecrated the church and then blessed the missile that destroyed the sanctuary! I mean, it is a catastrophe, and we can truly sympathize with those people from the bottom of our hearts. I don’t know whether the Russian criminal who pressed the button realized this missile would hit the Transfiguration Cathedral, not the port of Odesa. What did the Lord God want to convey with this tragedy? I don’t know what He wants to say — to the top of the Russian Orthodox Church, to the Russian criminals, and the Ukrainian believers of the Moscow Patriarchate — because the actions of these criminals do not follow God’s logic, but the devil’s one. Yet, I suppose this is a seminal event that has affected all of us,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

On the night of July 23, the Russians launched a large-scale missile attack on the historic center of Odesa. According to preliminary reports, one person was killed, and 22 people were injured. The Transfiguration Cathedral was completely destroyed — the missile hit the sanctuary. The House of Scientists and six residential buildings were severely damaged.

The Spaso-Preobrazhenskyi Cathedral or the Transfiguration Cathedral is the largest Orthodox church in Odesa and belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. The historic building of the cathedral was destroyed under Stalin, and in 2005 the cathedral was rebuilt. In 2010, it was consecrated by Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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