Head of new Ukrainian church accuses Moscow church


RISU, 24 September 2019


Not a single one of the Orthodox churches received independence without state support. The Ukrainian church also was no exception. The primate of the PTsU [Orthodox Church of Ukraine], Epifany, explained this in an interview with Mirror of the Week.


"If one turns to history, then it is known that all churches that received autocephaly in the past hundred years had great support from the state in this process," the primate of the PTsU said. "Therefore our case is not at all special nor new. In general, we are now talking about a very long process that simply came to its logical conclusion during President Poroshenko's term. Ukrainian presidents Leonid Kravchuk and Leonid Kuchma often declared that Ukraine needs its own local church. In 2008, under President Yushchenko, it seemed that such a church would soon be created, but not everything turned out so well. The question was not decided. Petro Poroshenko approached this topic sufficiently seriously and, having the gift of diplomacy and conviction, he was able to bring everyone together and to conduct effective negotiations with the ecumenical patriarch. And, since we find ourselves in a state of war, then it is obviously important that Ukraine have spiritual security."


"The war actually showed who is who in Ukraine. Which church is really Ukrainian and which is such in name only," Metropolitan Epifany is sure. "Therefore in the last five years it was the UPTs of the Kiev Patriarchate that very many believing parishioners joined, and now it is the recognized local Orthodox Church of Ukraine. This was necessary for a country at war.


"The Russian government understands the role of the church very well. For example, when Putin was asked what is the guarantee of the security of the Russian state, he responded: the nuclear shield and the church. But when the Ukrainian government tried to protect itself spiritually, then this same Russia said that the Ukrainian state is interfering in the affairs of the church. But then what happens in Russia itself? There an independent church does not at all exist as such. Structurally, the Russian church is a state department for affairs of religion, which can do anything, including destabilizing actions on the territory of Ukraine, through the patriarchate of Moscow. If our government facilitated the unification of Orthodox believers of Ukraine, then this does not mean that it interfered in the affairs of the church. These are entirely different things: interference in the affairs of the church and helping to assure the spiritual security of the country," the PTsU primate concluded. (tr. by PDS, posted 24 September 2019)

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