International Conference on Orthodoxy in Ukraine Held in Kyiv
KYIV — On November 19-20, 2009, with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), Metropolitan Volodymyr, an international conference “Patriarchal visit to Ukraine: answering the challenges of the time” was held in Kyiv. Ministers, theologians, scholars from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Poland discussed in the context of the patriarchal visit the development of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine and in the “eastern-Slavic space” in general. In addition to internal church problems, the participants dealt with the questions of resistance to “schismatics,” “Catholic expansion,” and “sectarians.”
The main speeches dealt with the religious situation in the country. Yurii Reshetnikov, the head of the State Committee on Nationalities and Religions, called the church-state relations harmonious whereas Metropolitan Ahafanhel of the UOC-MP and Ukrainian deputy Dmytro Tabachnyk stressed “the brutal interference of the Ukrainian authorities in church matters.”
The work of the conference was divided into three sections: unity of the church as unity of nations (this was stated to be historic), modern social ministry of the Orthodox Church, and church-state relations in post-totalitarian countries. Accordingly, the conference covered a wide range of questions starting with a discussion of missionary liturgies for neophytes and ending with church influence on mass media and education.