Ukrainian church tries to appear politically neutral


RISU, 11 April 2019


The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU) acknowledges that the current president did a great deal for getting autocephaly. However, the church does not campaign for any one of the candidates and it leaves to the faithful the right to vote as they wish.


Metropolitan Epifany stated this today, 11 April, at a press conference in Lvov.


"We are for the campaign to be clean and in a spirit of love. We have parishioners who support both candidates. And as a church we do not have the right to indicate for whom to vote," he reported.


At the same time, the first hierarch urged voting conscientiously, according to conscience.


"Now it is important for us not to lose freedom. We must understand one thing: without freedom, which we could lose, there never will be prosperity. This is the interconnectedness of things. If there will be freedom, there will be independence and justice, and then gradually there will be prosperity," Metropolitan Epifany said.


The primate of the PTsU also commented on a statement of a representative of the Verkhovna Rada, Oksana Syroed, that allegedly the presidential administration is forcing the clergy of the PTsU to campaign for Poroshenko.


"I have been asked often whether I have the president's telephone number and whether I communicate directly with him. I will say honestly: I do not have the number and I communicate with him only officially. We have met seldom and they do not give us orders. And I do not believe that any bishop has been called by the presidential administration and given orders," the first hierarch assured.


"During the divine liturgy we pray that honest elections will be conducted in Ukraine. Of course, we thank Petro Alekseevich that he did a great deal in order for us to get autocephaly. We do not hide this, because that would be unfair—to forget those good deeds that were done heretofore.


"The tomos concerning autocephaly is among the achievements of the current president. We speak this truth; we do not spread propaganda; we do not advocate. But as people we should be grateful. The tomos is an historical fact that has already happened. The name of the current president is also inscribed there and nobody will be able to erase it from history," the primate of the PTsU, Epifany, noted. (tr. by PDS, posted 11 April 2019)



Credo. Press, 11 April 2019


Metropolitan Epifany, the primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU), is convinced that his church will continue to be affirmed and to develop under the next head of the Ukrainian state. As UNIAN reported on 11 April, Metropolitan Epifany reported this to journalists in Lvov.


"The church plays an important role in the creation of the state. If we will have our own strong, united, local Orthodox church, it will be the spiritual foundation, a strong foundation, on which we will build our independent Ukrainian state. If there will be no state, there will be no independent Ukrainian church; these are interconnected things," he declared.


The metropolitan also said that "we pray and we believe that the Lord will do everything so that these elections will proceed peacefully and calmly, and we will choose a head of the Ukrainian state by democratic means and we will maintain the course that we have followed not only in the last five year but for almost three decades, the course in the direction of Europe and Ukrainian membership in NATO."


In the opinion of the primate of the PTsU, the course toward European and Euro-Atlantic integration is important for preserving the integrity of the Ukrainian state.


Epifany made clear that in the event of Vladimir Zelensky's victory in the election, "on the whole the course of the development of the Ukrainian church will be maintained and in the future we will be gradually unified, as this is even now happening."


"The people will select their religious center; the state should not interfere in this. The state should only ensure the rights of religious communities and the state should help and enable without determined interference," Epifany summed up.


The second round of the election of the Ukrainian president will be held on 21 April. (tr. by PDS, posted 11 April 2019)

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