"Kremlin needs a total religious war in Ukraine", Archbishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate

In a situation where the armed and informational aggression of the Kremlin against Ukraine has proved to be ineffective, Moscow has started playing in the religious sector, trying to bring discord and conflict into the relations between the religious communities of the country; an element of this technology was the announcement of a supposedly existing conflict in the west of Ukraine between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

Chair of the Information Office of the Kyiv Patriarchate, Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya) made this statement to Obozrevatel.

Commenting on the “total religious war” in Ukraine forecast by propagandists, he remarked: “This is precisely what Moscow has been persistently striving for to succeed in its aggression in recent years.”

“While in 2014 the main focus of the Kremlin was on armed and information aggression, now, realizing the insignificant success of their efforts in these areas in comparison with the objectives set, Moscow focused on fueling all possible controversies within our country,” the archbishop believes.

According to him, certain linguistic, national, regional, social, political confrontation lines exist in any country, “they also exist in Ukraine”. But, unfortunately for the aggressor, they “clearly do not reach the destructive level as they aspire.”


“Therefore, they try to force a wedge in every crack, to expand it, and in this case the enemy cannot neglect the contradictions between the confessions and between the religions,” he stated.

The Archbishop reminded us how during the Revolution of Dignity and immediately afterwards, Putin's propaganda called for the "catastrophic growth of anti-Semitism in Ukraine", which was denied by the Jewish communities of our country.” In addition, “Moscow, including through Patriarch Kirill, stated that “the civil war in Ukraine is a religious war, where the Uniates (i.e., Greek Catholics) and the schismatics (i.e. the Orthodox of the Kyiv Patriarchate) are fighting against canonical Orthodoxy (that is, against the Russian Church). However, as in the case of “persecution of the Russian-speaking population” and other horror stories, Moscow indulges here into wishful thinking,” he said.

Speaking about the relations between Orthodox and Greek Catholics, the archbishop acknowledged that “historically they are not easy.” “For more than four centuries, which have passed since the time of the Union of Brest, many accusations and insults have been accumulated, the memory is burdened with conflicts.”

At the same time, he stressed: “Through the joint effort of both Orthodox and Greek Catholics in the present century, they have done much to overcome the negative effects of the past, and although one cannot say that full agreement has been reached, in particular in the western regions of Ukraine, where there is traditionally an extensive presence of Greek Catholic communities, but the talks about the possibility of a “religious war” are groundless and completely irresponsible. These statements can only be made by those willing to pour water on the mill of the Kremlin propaganda and contribute to the success of Moscow’s aggression,” he said.

Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya) also commented on the conflict around the church in the city of Kolomyia in Ivano-Frankivsk region, where the interests of the local community of the Moscow Patriarchate and the UGCC collided. “There is no doubt that the situation around the church in Kolomyia, which was used by the community of the Moscow Patriarchate and taken under the control of Greek Catholic activists, requires a peaceful solution, since it is not about the voluntary decision of the community itself to move from one church to another, as is the case of the transfer of communities from the Moscow Patriarchate to the Kyiv Patriarchate, it is about taking the church under the control of activists of another community. Each party claims its rightness, therefore, finding a just solution is not easy, but it must be sought from both sides, and perhaps at the level of the leadership of the dioceses or churches, because the return to the late 1980s and early 1990s cannot be allowed when the issue of the church building title in Halychyna was often resolved by forceful methods, which still negatively affects both the relationship between denominations and ordinary believers,” the Archbishop of the UOC-KP stated.



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