Pope Francis approved the defrocking of nine Ukrainian monks for performing unauthorized exorcisms and following the commands of a proclaimed “prophetess.”
The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (UGCC) announced the removal of the monks on Tuesday, saying that according to the irreversible decree that Francis approved Feb. 9, the nine affected monks were thereby stripped of the rights and duties accorded to them by monastic vows, forbidden from dressing as monks or remaining in the monastery, and barred from performing any religious duties outside of the monastery.
Francis’ decision came after the nine monks refused to comply with a reorganization of the leadership of St. Theodor Studit’s Monastery, which the local Synod of Bishops executed in response to reports that the monks were violating church rules under the instructions of Sister Maria Baran, who claimed to hear instructions from God, the Virgin Mary, and various saints.
“The people started to talk about Sister Maria Baran from the monastery in Velyki Borky in 2004. She seemed to hear the voice of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, Sacred Virgin Mary, and some saints. Some of the messages were written down by Father Planchak. The priest confirmed their veracity and origin from God but did not have the authorities for this as the Synod of UGCC officially claimed,” a statement from the UGCC read, according to 112 UA.
The synod’s investigation revealed that those who followed the alleged revelations of the “prophetess,” as they called Baran, which Anthony-Grygory Planchak spread, performed unauthorized exorcisms and violated their monastic duties and the structure of church authority. The synod of bishops issued a directive to the monks, based on their findings, to reorganize the monastery’s leadership and to seek the proper permissions and clerical authority for determining whether alleged revelations were from God and for performing exorcisms and that they were to uphold the duties to which they pledged themselves.
Nine of the monks refused to comply with the order and continued to follow Baran’s alleged revelations.
“They continued to violate the rules of the monks and finally illegally settled in vil. Posich, Ivano-Frankivsk region. They did not want to correct their behavior. After the relevant warnings, nine monks have been removed from the monastic state. This decision was personally approved by the Roman Pontiff,” the UGCC announced.
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