UOC (MP) Metropolitan of Rivne and Ostroh withdrew his signature to the Memorandum
The statement by Metropolitan Varfolomiyissued on November 19 was published by the press service of the Diocese of Rivne (Moscow Patriarchate). Metropolitan explains his actions with the fact that the document of November 13“did not bring peace and stability to the Orthodox people of Rivne region”. Metropolitan also accused the UOC-KP of one more attempt to ‘seize’ churches in Rivne region.
The statement’s text:
On November 13, representatives of various Christian denominations ofRivne region signed the so-called Memorandum, one its points beingthe the peaceful settlement of religious conflicts in future. I signed the Memorandum, with a sincere hope that the seizure of the Orthodox churches will stop, and all religious conflicts in the future will be resolved in a peaceful and fair manner, as the ruling bishop of the Diocese of Rivne of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
After it was made public,the Memorandum was received by theclergymen and ordinary believers of the diocese perceived as a betrayal of the Orthodox faith. Various kinds of misinterpretationemerged, leading to ecclesial instability in the diocese.
In addition, the supporters of the UOC-KP flagrantly violatedparagraph 4 of the Memorandum,that concerned the termination of seizure of Orthodox templesin three days upon signing the Memorandum, namely on November 15, making a new attempt to seize churches in the villages of Ptich,Dubno district, and Badivka,Ostroh district. The UOC-KP does not give up provocations.
Based on the above, I’mwithdrawing my signature to the Memorandum, as a document that did not bring peace and stability to the Orthodox believers inRivne land.
I place all the blame for this breach entirely with the supporters of the UOC-KP. From now on the Memorandum for the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of Rivneof the Ukrainian Orthodox Church completely loses its legal effect.
I call on the Orthodox faithful to maintainecclesiastical peace and stability and to lift up prayers for our Orthodox Church, for our country and for all of us.
May Our Merciful Lord, God of love and peace always stay with you.