Tamar Lomidze (Easter Orthodox Author and Contributor) – OCP News Service – 3/5/18
President Petro Poroshenko and other high-ranked Ukrainian officials state that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is ready to create an autocephalous (independent) Orthodox Church in Ukraine. The new religious organization is said to be based on the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) and Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP), both of which are not recognized by the Orthodox world. In its communiqué of April 22, the Ecumenical Patriarchate doesn’t deny it. The Holy Synod has started to review appeals of the President, Ukraine Parliament and prelates of the above-mentioned Churches.
According to Ukrainian experts, and high-ranking officials, the participation of state in the process is a demand of His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew while the new Ukrainian Orthodox Church won’t become a “state” one and will function along with other communities. Officials claim that a new canonical Church (recognized by the Orthodox world) will put an end to inter-confessional conflicts in the country.
Meanwhile, until this moment, the Ukrainian authorities haven’t sought or simply unable to adhere to the principle of confessional equality, showing support only to one Church – the UOC-KP.
As known, in the cities of Bar (Vinnitsia region) and Lokhvytsia (Poltava region), local councils’ deputies, under the pressure of the far-right group Pravy Sector, rejected UOC-MP’s claim and allotted for building church in favor of UOC-KP. The interference of nationalist organizations in property disputes between congregations show that Ukrainian authorities care unable to secure equality of confessions.
Within the period of just four months in 2018, the Ukrainian authorities ignored. Three arson’s of UOC-MP churches:
– Another seizure of an UOC-MP church in Ptycha village (Rivne region) by UOC-KP followers and the members of the paramilitary organizations Azov
Battalion and Aidar Battalion;
– The desecration of the gates of an UOC-MP monastery in Odessa region;
– The demolition of an UOC-MP cross in Kyiv.
In all cases, the police inaction was considered unlawful. Probes on destruction and desecration of objects of worship were started by court orders only after complaints from human right organizations. It doesn’t seem that against the background of such a policy, an emergence of a canonical alternative to the pro-Russian Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate will end the confessional discrimination in Ukraine.
Moreover, the indifference of the UOC-KP clergy and episcopate to lawless actions committed in favor of their personal and corporate interests is incompatible with their high ministerial service, especially under the omophorion of His All-Holiness Bartholomew, the Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome, the Ecumenical Patriarch.
Please note that the opinions expressed in the above article are solely the author’s and it do not represent those of Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE or OCP New Service
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