UOC-KP Synod strongly denounces interference of Russia and Kremlin-backed forces in the issue of Ukrainian autocephaly
On May 12, the Synod of Bishops of the UOC-KP made public the appeal to Orthodox hierarchs, clergy, monasticism and laity of Ukraine and to all Ukrainian people on the issue of the establishment of the one local Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Therein they express gratitude to the President, the Verkhovna Rada and the public for the support of autocephaly for Ukraine. At the same time, the bishops of the UOC-KP are critical of the attempts of Russia and the Kremlin political forces to prevent the process of granting the Tomos of autocephaly by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. It also referred to the inadmissibility of all kinds of provocations.
“There are numerous facts of political and state interference by the Russian Federation and pro-Kremlin political forces in Ukraine in the recognition process in order to obstruct it. Through diplomatic and other channels, in the interests of the authorities of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate, the pressure is put on the Patriarchate of Constantinople, other Local Orthodox Churches. The Kremlin-backed political entities in Ukraine organized the collection of signatures, which they believe should “testify to the unwillingness” of the Orthodox in Ukraine to support the initiated case. Exercising their influence, including financial, on the leadership of the Metropolis of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine, these political entities distribute “petition letters"” in the parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine - although no open church order to do so was ever issued.
In view of these facts, we protest against the Russian intervention in church affairs, against the use of pro-Kremlin politicians of their influence in the governing bodies of the Metropolis of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine in order to prevent the recognition of autocephaly. We believe that by their actions they violate Ukrainian legislation, incite inter-confessional hostility, interfere in the affairs of religious organizations, and encourage some religious organizations to interfere in the affairs of others,” reads the Appeal.
The Synod of the UOC-KP called on the bishops, clergy and faithful who are part of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine to not participate in political provocations of the Kremlin-backed forces, not to become hostage to their desire for revenge and return to power.
At the same time, the hierarchs of the UOC-KP warn everyone from participating in provocations aimed at stirring up interfaith hostility.
“The appeals of certain political and public figures to commit violence against the supporters of the Moscow Patriarchate, to the damage or seizure of property belonging to religious communities in the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate, are rejected and condemned. The Kyiv Patriarchate calls on the hierarchs, clergy, monastic and lay people who are now subordinated to the Russian Church to a conscious, voluntary unification into the one Local Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Acts of violence and other provocations only impede such unification, helping the opponents of the establishment of the Local Orthodox Church in its discredit in society and abroad,” the Synod addresses.
The UOC-KP thinks it “inadmissible that under the guise of religious activity, through the bodies of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine, the Kremlin aggressive ideology of the “Russian world” is imposed on Ukraine, so that the faithful and communities of the Metropolis of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine become hostages of the pro-Kremlin forces and the carriers of their program. The state must respond appropriately to all violations of the law, taking measures to stop such violations and bring the perpetrators to justice. The public of Ukraine also has the right, in the manner prescribed by law, to peacefully express their condemnation of the facts of illegal activity on the part of persons and organizations associated with the Moscow Patriarchate,” the bishops of the UOC-KP stressed.