POROSHENKO CALLS FOR THINKING ABOUT CREATING UNITED ORTHODOX CHURCH IN UKRAINE
RIA Novosti, 23 April 2016
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, at a meeting with representatives of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, called for thinking about creating a united local autocephalous church. He also declared that he will not permit political interference in inter-church relations in the country.
He said that in the current situation it is difficult for believers to agree with the existing division of Ukrainian Orthodoxy. "Of course, I do not accept, on principle, that the state would interfere—and I will not allow it—in inter-church relations. This is the business of believers and the church. But to ignore the will of the people is also wrong," a report on the official website of the Ukrainian president quotes Poroshenko's words.
The Ukrainian president declared that, according to surveys of public opinion, the number of Orthodox citizens in Ukraine who would wish for there to be in the country a united local autocephalous church is growing. He also expressed readiness to provide help in the implementation of solutions proposed by leaders of Ukrainian churches.
Earlier the head of the Department for External Church Relations (OVTsS) of the Moscow patriarchate, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Ilarion, declared that the patriarchate is very concerned with the situation that has emerged "around the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the only canonical Orthodox church." Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Ilarion also added that the difficulties with which the UPTs of the Moscow patriarchate in Ukraine is confronted may be due to a political agenda in this country. He said that there already exists in Ukraine a united local Orthodox church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufrey.
At the present time, the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church is operating in Ukraine. It is a self-administering church and member of the Moscow patriarchate. There also are functioning of the territory of the country Orthodox church structures that are not recognized by world Orthodoxy: the Kiev patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. (tr. by PDS, posted 24 April 2016)
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