Russian activity in Ukrainian church subject of dispute


RISU, 27 May 2019


"The statement that Metropolitan Epifany is surrounded by pro-Russian forces is a myth," a representative of the ecumenical patriarch, the metropolitan of Gaul, responded to Patriarch Filaret's words.


Metropolitan of Gaul Emmanuel declared that he does not agree with the statement by the honorary patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU), Filaret, who on 24 May after the session of the PTsU Synod reported that pro-Moscow forces, whose main task is to attempt to destroy the Ukrainian church, influence the PTsU primate, Metropolitan Epifany.


"The church is not just premises, structures, or buildings. The church, in the first place, is created by believing people who support it with all their might. All these people supported the Kiev patriarchate and the UAPTs, and today they support the PTsU and its primate, Epifany. I do not see any new people. The church has nothing to fear; it does not play any political role, and it does not interfere in political matters. All accusations to the effect that the primate, Epifany, is surrounded by any pro-Russian forces it are myth. The primate, Epifany, is a young and strong person, whom we support along with Ukrainians," the metropolitan of Gaul said.


The Orthodox metropolitan of France, who is subordinate to the ecumenical patriarchate, emphasized that the tomos, which was signed by the ecumenical patriarch and clergymen of the ecumenical patriarchate, laid the foundation of a new autocephalous church. The cleric also noted that the text of the tomos was not the result of negotiations of two sides. It explains how a church should function. A similar text was given by the ecumenical patriarchate to all local churches that received autocephaly in their time.


"Nobody has the right to judge what in the text is correct and what is not. And those who do not accept some provisions of the tomos are refusing to be in the bosom of that church. The church has a great future in front of it. It will stand on its feet and select for itself the way it will go," Metropolitan of Gaul Emmanuel emphasized. This was reported by Kanal 24. (tr. by PDS, posted 27 May 2019)



RISU, 26 May 2019


Russia is trying by all means to isolate the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU), to prevent its recognition on the part of other local churches, and to sow discord among Orthodox Ukrainians. The aggressor rejoices when some unpleasantness occurs in the Ukrainian church.


Such an opinion was expressed by the primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epifany, Kanal 24 reports, citing the press service of the church.


The achievement of complete unity of all Ukrainians around the Kiev see is today being prevented by that portion of Ukrainian Orthodoxy that does not recognize the destructive forces of remaining in spiritual dependence upon the northern neighbor, who by all means is trying to isolate the PTsU, to prevent its recognition, and to sow discord among Orthodox Ukrainians," he noted.


Metropolitan Epifany also added that now maintaining unity is especially important for both the Ukrainian clergy and the believers.


"We must maintain unity among ourselves—bishops, clergy, and laity. As an example of such unity on our part we will encourage our brothers from the Moscow patriarchate to recognize the necessity of having in Ukraine a single Orthodox church and to take realistic steps in that direction," the metropolitan declared. (tr. by PDS, posted 27 May 2019)



Interfax-Religiia, 27 May 2019


Patriarch of Moscow and all-Rus Kirill is counting on the ending of discrimination against Orthodox in Ukraine with the election of Vladimir Zelensky as president.


"In Ukraine, the rights of an enormous number of Orthodox believers are being violated in the most crude manner," the patriarch told journalists in the Strasbourg airport upon the ending of his visit to France.


"As a result of these violations there was real suffering merely for the fact that they wanted to remain Orthodox, they wanted to remain members of the Russian Orthodox Church," he added.


At the same time, recent changes that have occurred in Ukraine in connection with the election of a new president, Patriarch Kirill said, "inspire hope."


"I am acquainted with the thoughts of many Orthodox Ukrainians. They associate with this election (of a new president) positive changes in the sense that discrimination for belonging to an Orthodox jurisdiction, which everybody has equal rights to, is ceasing. I share these hoped of Ukrainians in connection with the election of Mr. Zelensky," the patriarch said.


"I very much hope that this caveman's policy, which is absolutely impermissible not only in Europe but also in the majority of countries of the world, where respectable citizens are discriminated against on the basis of affiliation with a specific religious organization, will leave the life of Ukrainians forever. I think that these hopes are shared also by my interlocutors here in Strasbourg," the primate of the Russian church said.


It was reported earlier that he held meetings with the secretary general of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, and the high commissioner of the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatovic. (tr. by PDS, posted 27 May 2019)

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