Patriarch Filaret: Using Fascist Symbols During Religious Ceremonies Is Inappropriate
Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP) assured the World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder that the Kyiv Patriarchate does not support any actions or calls inciting hatred against Jews.
The head of the UOC-KP also denied that the clergy of the church headed by him took part in a religious ceremony, in which Nazi symbols were used, states a letter by Patriarch Filaret to the president of the WJC.
“The joint task of the people of all nations, religions, and world views is to learn from the tragic past, to prevent bloodthirsty evil, enmity, and hatred from again settling in the hearts and leading to the killing or harassment of others just because they do not belong to your nation, do not practice your religion, or do not share your worldview,” he said.
WJC President Ronald Lauder is alarmed that in Ukraine “with a memorial prayer and military honors the SS are being reburied” and that the priests of the UOC-KP take part in it.
He is refers to the reburial of the remains of 16 soldiers of the SS Galicia Division in the village Holohory in the Lviv region on July 28. The event was initiated and conducted by representatives of NGOs, deputies, and local activists, wearing uniforms of the Galicia Division soldiers. Funeral prayers were held in the church and in the cemetery.
The participation of priests in the reburial, according to the WJC president, “gave religious legitimacy to the rehabilitation of the SS.” Shortly after this event, Ronald Lauder appealed to Patriarch Filaret calling on him to use his moral authority and prevent his clergy from being present at such events in the future.
“As for the particular case, which caused your concern and was the direct reason for your letter, I have to say that according to the information I received from the Eparchy of Lviv of our church, the priests who participated in that event do not belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate and no blessing on behalf of our church was given for this event,” Patriarch Filarate wrote in his letter to the WJC president.
Patriarch Filaret said that the mission of the church is to pray for all people – good and bad.
At the same time, the hierarch said that he disapproves of the use of Nazi symbols during religious ceremonies.