07-09-2017

Russian Orthodox Church urges Poroshenko not to interfere with church matters and claims the Local Church already exists in Ukraine

The Moscow Patriarchate has called the words of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko about the establishment of a local Orthodox Church in Ukraine, with the support of the Patriarch of Constantinople an attempt to earn political capital.

Interfax agency writes about it.

Delivering today the annual appeal to the Ukrainian Parliament, Poroshenko said that Ukraine has the right to a local Orthodox Church and will seek to establish it.

“The recognition of Ukrainian autocephaly by the Ecumenical Patriarch that we expect will not in any way mean the emergence of a state church or the prohibition of the activities of other Orthodox denominations," he added.

Meanwhile, the Moscow Patriarchate has claimed that the current statement by the President of Ukraine on the need to have an independent (autocephalous) church in the country is not the first one. For example, last year the MPs sent a letter to the Patriarch of Constantinople on the same topic.

“As the previous time, we evidence the interference in the internal affairs of the Church,” said Archpriest Igor Yakymchuk, secretary for inter-Orthodox relations of the Synodal Department of External Church Relations, according to Interfax-Religion’s correspondent.

According to the priest, today's statement by the president “was in no way agreed with the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is the local Church of Ukraine, recognized by all the Orthodox world.”

In this regard, the interlocutor of the agency recalled the words of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow he said during a visit to Kyiv in response to a question from then-President Viktor Yushchenko, that the local Orthodox Church has been in Ukraine for more than a thousand years, and currently it is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).

“It is obvious that attempts to solve church problems without the participation of the Church itself are doomed to failure, as the aforesaid patriarch of Constantinople, His All-Holiness Bartholomew, has repeatedly stated this.

Probably, those politicians who are trying to earn political capital on this issue should listen to the opinion of the leaders of the local Orthodox churches and stop interference in the internal affairs of the Church ,” the representative of the Synodal Department of the Moscow Patriarchate summarizes.

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