Moscow church chooses favorites in Ukrainian presidential contest


Obozrevatel, 3 April 2019


Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church (RPTs) in Ukraine must find common ground with the possible victor in elections for president of Ukraine, the showman Vladimir Zelensky.


This was declared in his Telegram account "Orthodox politics" by RPTs Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, who noted that it is necessary to demand "written guarantees."


"Traditionalists must achieve agreement with the leader in the race. Demanding written guarantees for the ending of persecutions of the canonical church, a return of political émigrés and critics of the 'European choice' in politics and public life before the elections to the Rada, and the appointment as the minister of culture (who oversees religion) of Yury Boiko, Viktor Medvedchuk, or Vasily Anisimov (the head of the press service of the UPTsMP—ed. note). The last named could also become the specialized vice-chairman for religion," the Russian clergyman thinks.


Chaplin also added that "hopes for all of this are not so great; the West also will demand something of Zelensky." (tr. by PDS, posted 3 April 2019)



Religiia v Ukraine, 3 April 2019


The head of the Department for External Church Relations (OVTsS) of the Moscow patriarchate, Metropolitan Ilarion, spoke on air on the program Church and World on the Rossiia-24 television channel; Russian Interfax quoted him on 1 April, Religiia v Ukraine reports, citing Credo.Press.


"Ukrainian President Poroshenko has shown himself to be a persecutor of the church, and the Russian Orthodox Church expects of the new president that he will put an end to persecutions of the church. This is our most important expectation of the new Ukrainian president, who ever he may be," Metropolitan Ilarion declared; he is a persona non grata in Ukraine.


He noted that the heads of state who have shown themselves to be persecutors of the church "never ended their lives well," and he expressed the hope that the new president of Ukraine "will put an end to this lawlessness, this tyranny."


"Freedom of religious confession," the chairman of OVTsSMP added, "consists, among others, in the fact that each religious community chooses for itself its name; the state does not name religious communities with this denomination or that. Now these fundamental freedoms of Ukrainian citizens are being violated. Millions of Ukrainian citizens, who are members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, are now under threat of being deprived of their own church, and this threat is quite openly being expressed by politicians, including Poroshenko, who told Ukrainian believers that if they do not like the new autocephalous church, they should depart from the country."


"There are candidates who are more or less sympathetic for me, but our church rules do not permit me to publicly express my opinion toward one or another candidate," Metropolitan Ilarion said.


At the same time, Credo.Press notes that while urging Ukrainian authorities "to put an end to persecutions of the church," within Russia itself the RPTs is exerting efforts to restrict the rights of Orthodox communities that are outside of its jurisdiction. Thus, in particular, the Klintsov diocese of the RPTs is acting as the plaintiff in a case regarding the release of the church of Holy Elijah in the city of Trubchevsk (Briansk oblast) from the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church; the parish has occupied the church on legal bases since 1991. (tr. by PDS, posted 3 April 2019)

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