UOC-MP Bishops’ Council can choose Primate of pro-Russian political affiliation, expert opinion
Ukrainian religionist Andriy Yurash believes that the UOC-MP has now no unquestioning candidates for metropolitan’s chair. According to him, now are three possible models of election of the new Primate. It is possible that the Bishops’ Council will elect a candidate representing the traditional pro-Moscow centralization stance, said Andriy Yurash in an interview with Radio Liberty.
“There were many grounds to suggest the success of such nomination at the last Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which adopted several demonstrative resolutions: a decision to remove from active church communication the clearly pro-Ukrainian personnel: Kyiv Metropolis lawyer Mr. Volynets, removal of Metropolitan Alexander Drabynko from the chair of the Awards Department and withdrawal from management of Uzhgorod Academy Rector archimandrite Victor Bed”, said religious expert.
At the same time, it is likely that the Metropolitan Volodymyr’s successor will be a leader who is still unrecognized by the hierarchy, who will unite a majority that will focus on dialogue with the UOC-Kyivan Patriarchate and will establish a new church structure that will bring together all the Kyiv-centered force of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, says Andriy Yurash.
According to experts, the UOC-MP may be chaired by a man who will try to maintain the status quo. That is, he will try to maintain for a certain period Metropolitan Volodymyr’s style of governance, which allowed coexisting different identities and ideological manifestations.
In the near future hidden and open negotiations will be held and will reveal the hierarchs groups to be pushing forward their candidates, says AndriyYurash. But he argues that the position of the Bishops' Council cannot be identical to that of the Synod.
“7 of 9 permanent members of the Synod are the oldest and most conservative representatives of the generation of hierarchs whose consciousness, mentality, and ideology had been formed many decades ago when there was no alternative to the center in Moscow. Instead, now there is an absolute majority of hierarchs whose ideological affiliations have been formed in the last two decades in independent Ukraine, who are accustomed to the fact that there is pluralism in society and that the independent Ukrainian state exists,” said Yurash.
Andriy Yurash is sure that the model of pro-Ukrainian development will be on the agenda, but at the same time, he expresses doubt that such a model might win. The expert reminds that the locum tenens of the UOC-MP is Metropolitan Onufriy assigned by the Synod. So, the expert believes that some transitional personality that would not basically change anything seems most suitable for the hierarchy and is likely to be elected.