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Archbishop of UOC MP Zorya: more and more Ukrainians start realizing that the support of Patriarch Kirill leads to what is now on the Donbas G

Archbishop of UOC MP Zorya: more and more Ukrainians start realizing that the support of Patriarch Kirill leads to what is now on the Donbas Yevstratii Zorya knows what hinders the process of church unification
Photo: wikipedia.org

The head of the information department of the Kiev Patriarchate Yevstratii Zorya on Christmas Eve in the commentary to "Gordon" talked about why he had no doubts that Ukraine will have a unified and independent Orthodox Church, what hinders the process of unification of churches and why Patriarch Kirill and his policy of "Russian world" is dangerous.

The unification of the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches is the question that does not lose its applicability for many years. However, over the last year people began to discuss it more often in the context of separation from the Moscow Patriarchate, which is obviously due to the fighting in the east of Ukraine and the desire to distance from anything that is connected with Russia. The Archbishop of Chernihiv and Nizhyn of the UOC KP Yevstratii Zorya told to "GORDON" about the inter-church relations and the prospects for a unified Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Ukraine - one of the largest Orthodox countries, it has all the historical and canonical prerequisites for the church to be independent

No doubt that there will be a single local church in Ukraine, because there was no reason, dogmatic or canonical to divided churches. The division lasts for a long time when there is a difference in religion, and if there is no such differences this division is temporary. Sooner or later the church in Ukraine will be a single, because it is natural for the Orthodox Church in Ukraine to be united. Also, this will be a local one church, because Ukraine - one of the largest Orthodox countries, it has all the historical and canonical prerequisites for the church to be independent, as well as in other Orthodox countries, even in countries where Orthodoxy in the minority: for example, in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Albania.

Under the current circumstances it is very difficult to say how quickly it will be. We have seen such stunning changes around us over the past year that I wouldn't dare even to talk about how close or far away we are from this perspective. It can happen this year, for foreseeable limits, or it can happen in a year or two or five years. In any case, the most important thing - it will happen, I am absolutely sure.

The main obstacle in a way to unification is the position of the Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. Behind the management of this church there is the Moscow patriarchy, and they together are doing everything they can not to let Ukraine Church unite, and the current situation would be preserved. Moscow is afraid of losing control over the church in Ukraine, because it is one of its most influential levers of impact on the Ukrainian situation. It is an access to the souls of the Ukrainians.

The new management, which came to the power in the UOC Moscow Patriarchate is absolutely pro-Moscow

The situation looks absurd when the main propagandists are awarded by Patriarch Kirill. Main Russian media propagandists as Kiselev and Dobrodeev, who are responsible for the seas of blood on the Donbass. This way he not only shows respect for their work, but also considers them worthy of special church blessing. At the same time faithful Orthodox Churches of the Moscow Patriarchate continue to honor and remember this patriarch and regard him as their spiritual leader. They bless the one who, in fact, blesses violence, murder and lies against Ukraine from the Kremlin. Therefore, to lose such an instrument of action in Ukraine to Moscow is very, very painful. They do everything to prevent such a union, and are afraid to even begin a dialogue.

The new leadership, which came to the power in the UOC Moscow Patriarchate is absolutely pro-Moscow, and they proved it already. Patriarch Filaret on election day of Metropolitan Anufry said he is not a patriot, and he proves that all the time. He is a patriot, but not a patriot of Ukraine, as he is a patriot of "Russian world". He doesn't want any dialogues, no unification with the Ukrainian patriarchate, and he does not want even to hear about that.

But this does not mean that the position of this exact church is the position of the whole church. Many believers, priests and bishops have completely opposite opinion. They do not pray for the Patriarch Kirill and would like to have a single local church. I think that their wish will come true. We can not know how and when this will happen, but we can see that all the actions that Moscow has done a number of ways against Ukraine were unsuccessful. And in the ecclesiastical sphere also, in my opinion, this action will end up with the Moscow defeat.

We are facing the examples when on the local authority level there are obstacles for parishes to jump from one Patriarchate to another

As we said, about 30 parishes have already moved to Kiev Patriarchate. But we see that the Moscow Patriarchate takes great pain to counteract it, declares that it is occupation of temples, even though it is a will of the public. The public, either completely or of vast majority decides to leave the Moscow Patriarchate and go to the Kiev Patriarchate. How people can capture their own temple – it is donbnot clear for me.

To keep this process, the Moscow Patriarchate, firstly, is fanning hysteria around the alleged capture of temples, and secondly, is trying to influence the authorities to ensure that they are strongly opposed to this process. We are already facing the examples when on the local authority level there are obstacles. The documents are not registered, criminal cases for the far-fetched reasons are opened.

The main motivation from the Moscow patriarchy —that it stirs up hostility, it is necessary to stop these transitions of parishes to stop hostility. But hostility stirs up by Patriarch Kirill and his policy, by the priests who preach "Russian World" in the parishes. They declare that our volunteers fighting in the Donbass against Russian invaders, sin, kill Orthodox brothers, and that people must not pray for them and must not read the burial services. Such things revolt people; this is what often becomes a reason for people to move away from the Moscow Patriarchate.

People, as they say, vote with their feet – they stop going to the temples of the Moscow Patriarchate

If to speak about the Ukrainian society, there are gradual changes. More and more people are realizing that there is a difference what Orthodox Church to visit and what Patriarch to support. Even unconscious support of Patriarch Kirill and his policy of "Russian World" in Ukraine turns into things that we see in the Crimea and on Donbasss now. I think that over time, this process will continue, and parishes will move, and mostly people themselves will move, because we see that people, as they say, vote with their feet - stop going to the temples of the Moscow Patriarchate, and begin to go to the temples of the Kiev Patriarchate.

There is no difference between the Orthodox in religion, but there is a difference between the Orthodox and Greek Catholics. Greek Catholic Church professes those doctrines which are professed by the Catholic Church. As long as there is no unity between Orthodox and Catholics, to speak of the unity of the Orthodox and Greek Catholics is possible only if the Greek Catholics will accept the Orthodox religion or the Orthodox will accept the Greek-Catholic one. There are no tendencies for that, so to speak about these things in the foreseeable future is groundless. We need to talk not about the unification of Greek Catholics and Orthodox, but we should talk about cooperation and collaboration. Thank God we are in good relationship with the Greek Catholic Church, we cooperate and we can see the result of this cooperation.