Russian Orthodox Church Hopes Ukrainian Authorities Protect Churches From Nationalists
The Russian Orthodox Church hopes that if nationalists try to seize churches in Ukraine, the Ukrainian authorities will be able to maintain peace and will not side with either of the parties, Alexander Volkov, the spokesman for Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, said on Saturday.
MINSK (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 13th October, 2018) The Russian Orthodox Church hopes that if nationalists try to seize churches in Ukraine, the Ukrainian authorities will be able to maintain peace and will not side with either of the parties, Alexander Volkov, the spokesman for Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, said on Saturday.
Father Superior of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra Metropolitan Pavel repeatedly said that nationalists threatened to seize the monasteries and churches belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate on Sunday, October 14, when they will be celebrating the Defender of Ukraine Day.
"We would like to hope that hotheads from all sides will be held back and relevant Ukrainian authorities will find the strength to maintain peace and not to side with either of the parties in the conflict that already exists," Volkov said.
On Thursday, the Synod of the Constantinople Patriarchate announced that it would proceed to the granting independence to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, which is currently split into three major churches � the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) of Moscow Patriarchate, the non-canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP), which was created after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the so-called Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
The synod announced that it lifted the anathema from the heads of the two non-canonical churches that had been excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church for their schism. The Constantinople Patriarchate also revoked its decision to grant Moscow Patriarchate the right to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev, which dates back to 1686.
The synod's decision has been welcomed by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who looks to establish a single independent church in the country.
The Russian Orthodox Church called the synod's decision the "legalization of schism," saying that it would have catastrophic consequences and would affect millions of Christians in Ukraine and other countries. The Moscow-affiliated Ukrainian Orthodox Church said that the synod's decision was a hostile act, interfering with the Ukrainian church's affairs, and threatened the Constantinople patriarch with anathema.