Ukrainian Church Of Moscow Patriarchate Says Bartholomew I Visit May Cause New Persecution

Ukrainian Church of Moscow Patriarchate Says Bartholomew I Visit May Cause New Persecution

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 01st December, 2020) The upcoming visit of Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Bartholomew I to Ukraine may give impetus to pressure and persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) both by Kiev and radical groups, Chancellor of the UOC-MP Metropolitan of Boryspil and Brovary Anthony said on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, the Ukrainian government said that Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople would pay an official visit to the country in 2021 on Independence Day marked annually on August 24.

Commenting on the announcement, Metropolitan Anthony said it would be good if the patriarch could visit several Ukrainian settlements to "look into the eyes" of faithfuls who had been persecuted instead of participating in official receptions or mass events organized specially for him.

"Patriarch Bartholomew, who, in pursuit of unlimited power, legalized the Ukrainian schism and, thus, provoked a powerful wave of pressure, as well as persecution of the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [UOC-MP], bears the lion's share of responsibility for them.

Moreover, the visit of the head of the Phanar [Ecumenical Patriarchate] to Ukraine can give a new impetus to the mentioned processes," the metropolitan said, as cited on the church's website.

In 2018, the independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP) was formed via the merger of two other non-canonical branches of Orthodoxy in Ukraine at the initiative of then-President Petro Poroshenko and the patriarchate of Constantinople. The following year, Bartholomew I handed over the tomos of autocephaly to the UOC-KP. The Russian Orthodox Church, along with the UOC-MP, refused to recognize this. The Moscow Patriarchate has described the situation as the "legalization of schism," stressing that it would have catastrophic consequences and affect millions of Christians in Ukraine and other countries.