UOC-KP sharply criticized withdrawal of signatures from the Unity Memorandum of Rivne by UOC-MP hierarchs
On November 19, the press service of the Kyivan Patriarchate published its official position on the statements by Metropolitan Varfolomiy of Rivne and Ostroh and Metropolitan Anatoliy of Sarny and Polissya (UOC-MP) who withdrew their signatures from the “Memorandum on a United Ukraine and a Unified Ukrainian Local Orthodox Church.”
As emphasized in the UOC-KP, “Bishops of the UOC (MP) had not the heart to condemn the military aggression of Russia against Ukraine, so they withdrew their signatures to the Memorandum of Rivne.”
The UOC-KP states that it knows from credible sources that it was Metropolitan Onufriy who made the bishops withdraw their signatures, “because they have not agreed on the document with the leadership in Moscow.”
“Metropolitan Varfolomiy of Rivne fulfilled the order of Metropolitan Onufriy and found flimsy grounds to withdraw his signature. He accused the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in violation of the Memorandum. We categorically reject the allegations of Metropolitan Varfolomiy as false, because the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate are not in violation of law and are not involved in the seizure of churches. The transitions of the Moscow Patriarchate’ s religious communities to the Kyiv Patriarchate were carried out under law, by the will of the community, as stipulated in paragraph 5 of the Memorandum,” reads the statement of the UOC-KP.
The press center of the Kyiv Patriarchate claims that they have reliable information that “all the bishops of the UOC (MP) of the so-called pro-Ukrainian faction are summoned on November 28, 2014, to Moscow, where Patriarch Kirill is allegedly to initiate a trial of the church hierarchs from Rivne for arbitrariness.”
Further, the statement of the UOC-KP reads as follows: “Some bishops and clergy of the UOC-MP are not satisfied with Metropolitan Onufriy’s actions, because he was repeatedly asked to condemn military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, and Metropolitan Onufriy fails to do so because of his unwavering loyalty to Moscow. Such events demonstrate once again that the UOC-MP is not really a self-governing Church with the right to broad autonomy, but is fully governed from Moscow, not having their own thought, independent from Russia. Unfortunately, the pious deed of reconciliation and unity that emerged with the blessing of God and on the initiative of the faithful of Rivne and expressed itself in the ‘Rivne Memorandum’ has been obstructed by hierarchs of the UOC-MP at the direction of Moscow.”
The UOC-KP expressed confidence that among the bishops and clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) "there are many people who do not want to lie in order to please Moscow and want to be honest with themselves and the faithful they lead to salvation ... that the hostility among the Orthodox Ukrainian will cease and peace and unity of our people and the state will be achieved, and real sincere steps for the establishment of the unified Ukrainian Local Orthodox Church will be undertaken.”
The UOC-KP calls on the faithful and the clergy of the UOC-MP to “reject the execution of Moscow’s will that is hostile to Ukraine and stop inciting hatred in society and unite in love and peace around the cause of formation of a unified national church.”
As RISU reported, the "Rivne Memorandum" dated November 13 condemns the Russian aggression against Ukraine, inciting religious hatred and expresses the intention of all the signatory churches to pray for the unity and integrity of Ukraine and the creation of a unified Ukrainian Local Orthodox Church. This document was signed by the head of Rivne Regional State Administration Serhiy Rybachok, deputy head of Rivne Regional State Administration Oleksandr Savchuk, ruling bishop of the diocese of Rivne (UOC-KP) Archbishop Hilarion of Ostroh and Rivne, ruling bishop of the diocese of Rivne (UOC-MP) Metropolitan Varfolomiy of Rivne and Ostroh, ruling bishop of the dioceses of Rivne-Volynand Tauride (UAOC), Metropolitan Makariy of Lviv, ruling bishop of the diocese of Sarnyand Polissya (UOC-MP) Anatoly, the UGCC representative, delegated to sign the document by ruling bishop of the Exarchate of Lutsk Iosafat of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.