Ukrainian church leaders justify pro-Moscow views


RISU, 26 January 2016


The UPTs (of the Moscow patriarchate) is the only structure that unites "all who live in Ukraine, in the DPR and LPR, and in Crimea." Such a declaration was made on 22 January by Metropolitan of Luhansk and Alchevsk Mitrofan in an exclusive interview for war correspondents of the Russian news agency News Front, which mainly highlights events in the occupied portion of the Donbass (in the so-called Novorossia).


Metropolitan Mitrofan said that his diocese is living a full-fledged spiritual life and all its churches and two monasteries are functioning. He also noted that the number of people in the churches in territories controlled by the LPR [Luhansk People's Republic] has grown, which testifies to a "spiritual renewal." "Praise God there are no problems in interconfessional relations at the present time in the territory of our diocese. Our church there is living normally and is developing. When militants came to me and suggested taking over the only UPTsKP church in Luhansk, I did not want to do that because we do not need someone else's church," he said.


"His Holiness Patriarch Kirill constantly speaks about how the Moscow patriarchate is the legal heir to the historic legacy of Kievan Rus. The Dnepr is our Jordan, which is common for Ukrainians, Russians, and Belarusians. We have a single history and now an artificial division is happening into 'ours' and 'not ours,' a division of our peoples and a historically unjustified opposition. The Russian church was united and we hope that it will be so in the future and that it will unite Orthodox believers who live on the territory of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and other post-soviet republics," Metropolitan Mitrofan said.


"Our church strives to be outside of politics and not to participate in it. Because of this it nowadays is defamed and called unpatriotic and alien to the Ukrainian spirit and Ukrainian people, etc. But it is our church that is going along the correct Christian road of love, mutual forgiveness, and mutual understanding. Because a war is going on, and our parishioners are on both sides of the front. Because of this we cannot make harsh statements and support or condemn anybody," he added.


The bishop also declared orally a loyal attitude toward the "people's republics," that were created by terrorists on the territory of the Donbass: "Despite the fact that Ukraine is today divided, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow patriarchate unites today within its jurisdiction all who live in Ukraine, in the DPR and LPR, and in Crimea. At each divine liturgy we pray for the metropolitan of Kiev and all-Ukraine and this is viewed as normal. Our church today, surely, remains the only structure which spiritually unites our people. (tr. by PDS, posted 27 January 2016)




Gives assurance that "we are not building any kind of either Russian or Ukrainian World"

Religiia v Ukraine, 26 January 2016


The primate of the UPTsMP [Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow patriarchate], Metropolitan Onufrey, in a commentary for the Union of Orthodox Journalists (a fake organization registered by Donetsk businessman Viktor Vishnevetsky—ed.), on 22 January declared that the church he leads is not building either a "Russian" or a "Ukrainian" World, but God's world, a correspondent of the portal Religiia v Ukraine reports.


"Our church never was separatist. And those who slander it thus probably are the very same people—separatists. Our church tries to unite all citizens of Ukraine into one family of God. Regardless of what language a person speaks and what region he lives in. We always try to draw people to God and to unite everybody around God," Metropolitan Onufrey noted. "There are such people who consider themselves great patriots. Who consider everyone who does not conform to the image of their thoughts a separatist. God is their judge. We are doing what God teaches. God loves everybody and calls us to love one another."


He also announced his disagreement with Patriarch Kirill, who throughout the period of his patriarchate has promoted the idea of the Russian World.


"As to the Russian World. We are not building either a Russian or a Ukrainian World. We are building God's world. We want this world. If God's world will be among us then Ukraine will be a good state, strong and mighty. If God will not be with us, then we will be miserable and unhappy," Metropolitan Onufrey said. (tr. by PDS, posted 27 January 2016)

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