Political Scientist: Crises Within UOC-MP May Spread to Russia
Russian political scientist Andrii Okara said in an interview to Rosbalt.ru that the crises within the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) can indirectly affect Russia.
According to the expert, the actions of Metropolitan Agafangel and his adherents, who are completely ignoring the head of UOC, Metropolitan Volodymyr, create grounds for a church schism and discredit the UOC in the eyes of the society. "Such an organization begins to seem to lay people to be a totalitarian sect. And the recent statements of Agafangel regarding USSR, the Russian presidential election and the 'Russian World; have surprised many people," noted the expert.
"It makes possible a scenario of developments which is catastrophic for the whole Moscow Patriarchate. It is obvious that if the UOC-MP is to elect a new head in the near future, it will be Agafangel himself or someone of his entourage, with the tacit consent and support of the Clean Lane. If the election or seizure of the power is successful, many of the 'dissentients,' who are numerous among the bishops of the UOC-MP, may consider impossible to stay in the same jurisdiction with the supporters of Agafangel. They will have to join someone else, but the noncanonical UAOC and UOC-KP and the canonical UGCC are not an option for them. Therefore, the situation may make more active the factor of ecumenical Orthodoxy: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew can get the support of Patriarch Theophilus of Jerusalem and make a step towards the 'dissenting' Ukrainian hierarchs, which will allow to legalize the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine, like it was before 1686, through one of the existing noncanonical denominations," added the expert.
He stressed that such a scenario can sharpen the relations between the Moscow and Constantinople Patriarchates. "And in Ukraine, there will be open competition between two canonical Orthodox Churches, which may spread to Russia, where there are clergymen who are dissatisfied with Patriarch Kirill. Therefore, the indulgence of the Clean Lane with respect to its imaginary Ukrainian allies, Metropolitan Agafangel and his supporters, may make the Moscow Patriarchate face serious challenges, to which no one has solutions," concluded Okara.
According to the expert, there are two groups of influence now within the UOC-MP, one of which is aimed to obtain wider autonomy and the other one is aimed to bring the church closer to Moscow.