Moscow church recruits opposition to patriarch's visit


RIA Novosti, 18 August 2021


Ukrainian leaders of culture, science, and sports wrote an open letter in which they urged Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew to cancel his visit to Ukraine on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the independence of the country, the Center of Information of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UPTs) reported on Tuesday.


Earlier, the press service of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers, citing the patriarch himself, reported that Bartholomew will visit Ukraine on an official visit on Independence Day.


"Well-known Ukrainians have sent to Patriarch Bartholomew an open letter and they urged him to postpone his visit to Ukraine for Independence Day. The letters was signed by Orthodox leaders of science, culture, and sports. . . . Orthodox Ukrainians sent to the patriarch of Constantinople a request to reconsider his decision to visit Ukraine because of the exacerbation of religious confrontation due to the recognition of the PTsU (the uncanonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine—RIA ed.)," the center's Facebook page says.


It was noted that the appeal was signed by Academician Anatoly Peshko of the Academy of Economic Sciences of Ukraine, Academician Vitaly Zhuravsky of the National Academy of Judicial Sciences of Ukraine, Academician Petr Tolochko of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the musician and producer Oleg Karamazov, distinguished physician of Ukraine Rostislav Valikhnovsky, president Egor Bankendorf of Novosti Media-Holding, television producer Yury Molchanov, and others.


"It is with sorrow that we contemplate that not one of the official representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will participate on 24 August in those ceremonial events in honor of Ukrainian Independence Day, at which Your Holiness' presence is expected. Should you not reconsider your plans? After all, first, according to the constitution of Ukraine, religious organizations in our country are separated from the state, and, second, there is every reason to expect that your arrival for celebration of the day of the proclamation of the independence of Ukraine may provoke a straining of the religious situation," the center quotes the text of the letter.


The authors of the letter also indicated that the grant to the PTsU of a tomos concerning autocephaly "became the cause of the seizure of Orthodox church buildings by representatives of radical organizations and the beating of priests and believers with impunity."


The last time Patriarch Bartholomew was in Ukraine was in 2008. . . . (tr. by PDS, posted 18 August 2021)

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