Archbishop Ihor Isichenko of Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Comments on Visit of Patriarch Kirill
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, with his own hands destroys the image of the alleged independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate from Moscow. According to a report from the newspaper Day (#177 of 4 October), this opinion was expressed by Archbishop Ihor (Isichenko) of Kharkiv and Poltava of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
“I have the impression that Patriarch Kirill with his own hands devalues his visits. When visits of a church primate to a neighboring state become ordinary, attention to them is reduced, and, therefore, their importance is reduced, of course,” said Archbishop Ihor Isichenko.
According to the hierarch, “Bishop Volodymyr (Sabodan) is under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, and, by stressing again and again his authority over the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, Patriarch Kirill is destroying more and more the image that was created by Metropolitan Volodymyr with such difficulties from the time of his election. For the strategy of the Churches of Moscow Patriarchate in Moscow was always based on stressing its actual independence from Moscow. In reality, Patriarch Kirill with his actions during several years showed the illusory character of this independence.”
“Therefore, his addresses and presence without considering the existence of the local structures of the UOC-MP actually question the future of that church as a component of Ukrainian social life. It is clear that with the existing conjuncture when the pro-Russian forces are politically stronger in Ukraine, that church continues to have a strong social influence. But this period will inevitably end and then the question of the relations of that church with its foreign center and the state on whose territory it acts will arise,” said Archbishop Ihor (Isichenko).