Rep of UOC-MP Warns UOC-KP That Celebration of Rus Baptism Anniversary Will Be Led by Patriarch Kirill
Reps of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) stress that the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus will be celebrated according to the church rules stipulating that joint services and celebrations with “schismatics” are impossible, the Press Secretary of the head of UOC-MP Protopriest Heorhii Kovalenko said in a comment to UNIAN on the recent statement Patriarch Filaret of the Kyivan Patriarchate made on Channel 5.
According to the UOC-MP spokesman, the 1025th Anniversary of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus is primarily a church holiday. “At the same time, the church jubilee will be celebrated by the Ukrainian state which considers itself the successor of the Kyivan Rus. The church celebrations will be conducted according to the church rules and traditions and the protocol of the state celebrations will be prepared by the appropriate state institutions,” noted the protopriest.
He also explained that Patriarch Kirill of Moscow will participate in the jubilee celebrations “as the head of ROC [editor: Russian Orthodox Church] which traces back its history to the Church of the Kyivan Rus, and as the successor of the Kyivan metropolitans who moved from Kyiv to the east in certain historic conditions.”
"The church celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus, which is to be attended by representatives of all the Local Orthodox Churches of the world, will be led by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr," said the UOC-MP spokesman.
The protopriest reminded that “during the celebration of the 1020th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus, even under President Yushchenko, there were no meetings of His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Patriarch Alexis of Moscow, who attended the events, with representatives of the schismatic groups in Ukraine, such as UOC-KP and UAOC.” He stressed that “it is not because the Orthodox do not respect representatives of other denominations or religions but because we continue to consider the schismatics our brethren and expect their return to the unity with the holy Orthodoxy.”
According to him, the “statements of the leaders of the Kyiv Patriarchate are made to appeal to a politically engaged and non-church audience.”
Patriarch Filaret, head of the Kyivan Patriarchate, on March 16 stated on a program of Channel 5 that the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus “is a state-church holiday and that the celebration will be attended by the Moscow Patriarchate, Kyiv Patriarchate, Greek Catholic Church and Roman Catholic Church and other churches. It is our Ukrainian holiday. It is about the baptism of Kyivan Rus and not the Moscow one. There was no Moscow at that time, and therefore it is too early for them to celebrate.”