PATRIARCH KIRILL ASKS UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES NOT TO INTERFERE IN CHURCH AFFAIRS
Interfax-Religiia, 1 May 2016
Patriarch of Moscow and all-Rus Kirill called Ukrainian authorities not to try to reshape the religious sphere for political purposes.
"It is necessary to remind all authorities (of Ukraine—IF): do not touch the religious convictions of people, do not dabble in church life, do not try to reshape this life in favor of political goals," the patriarch declared in an interview on television channel NTV.
The primate emphasized that this is dangerous, "and what is most important, it never leads to the results that the initiators of such pressure on the church would consider to be desirable for themselves."
The current actions of Ukrainian authorities with respect to believers reminded him of soviet times, when the canonical church was subjected to persecutions and support was given to schismatics, the so-called "renovationists."
"Unfortunately, in Ukraine today they are turning to the very same devices in the name of the consolidation of society. Wasn't it in the name of the consolidation of society in soviet Russia that persecutions were unleashed? It was necessary to either reshape or remove socially and ideologically alien people. If the same thing were to happen in Ukraine now, it would be a catastrophe," the patriarch declared.
In Ukraine three Orthodox religious organizations are operating: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow patriarchate and two that are not recognized in the Orthodox world, the Kiev patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Since the start of military actions in Ukraine, dozens of UPTs churches have been seized by schismatics, often with the help of nationalists and local authorities.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has previously often called for the creation in the country of a local Orthodox church. One of the goals of the initiative is to separate the UPTs from the Moscow patriarchate.
Recently a draft law was registered in the parliament concerning the special status of religious organizations whose administrative center is located in a state recognized as an aggressor country. The authors are deputies from the "Petro Poroshenko Bloc." The UPTs has criticized this draft law and sent an appeal to representatives of the European Union. (tr. by PDS, posted 2 May 2016)
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