Separatism rose in Donbas also because the Church failed to form values, Donetsk historian Igor Todorov believes
On September 29, at the opening of VII Ecumenical Social Week in Lviv, Ihor Todorov, Doctor of Historical Sciences, professor of international relations and foreign policy of Donetsk National University said: “The Church has never had any significant impact in Donetsk region. Even if some of iconic thinkers speak out, they are not from the church environment,” journalist Sofia Kochmar reports to RISU.
In Donbas the most popular are the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and several Protestant denominations, the Greek and Roman Catholic Churches and Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate are present in small proportion. “There are many examples of conversion from the Moscow Patriarchate to Protestant communities, suggesting that the ‘mother faith’ was not so enrooted to remain in it”, says Igor Todorov.
“Donetsk region is a very complex area for the Church’s work. Its population was formed by two waves of industrialization – the first one in the nineteenth century, consisting of immigrants from Russian provinces, and the Soviet one, when everyone was permitted to work in the mines even without documents. It accounts for the criminality rate,” the scientist says.
“The Moscow Patriarchate has relied on external attributes: blessing Easter cakes is a custom, while regular confession and the Holy Communion are not. Most priests are not very anxious about it, because the main thing is money that the faithful regularly pay for funeral, christening, and wedding services. The church had no intention to become a moral authority in Donbass,” says Igor Todorov.
“In the conflict in Donbas the Russian Orthodox Army (RPA) has risen, totally uncontrolled and very cruel”, he adds. Also, the RPA terrorists threaten freedom in the region, driving out dissidents.
“My family is an example of human rights violations in Donbas, including property rights”, notes the historian. “What is happening in my home town, is happening for two reasons - betrayal of law enforcement and indifference of ordinary citizens. Thus, while people of characteristic appearance and past seized local administrations, others were quietly drinking coffee on a nearby street”.
The professor and his wife moved to work in Uzhgorod University, until the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine resumes work of Donetsk University, at least in the ‘evacuation’.