The state power has to take care of the maintenance of public and legal order in society, of the well-being of its citizens, protection of their rights and freedoms. The work of the Church is salvation of human souls through the preaching of the Gospel and the performance of ordinances and worship services. This was stated by the vicar of the Kiev Metropolis Archbishop Theodosiy of Boyarka in an interview to the Information and Education Department of the UOC.
According to Vladyka, both the state and the Church being public institutions must engage in their own business: “When we talk about the separation of the Church from the state, we mean that mixing the functions of these two institutions is unacceptable. For example, if the Church in the person of its official representatives, conventionally speaking, tries to solve state issues of Ukraine: initiate a dialogue with NATO, dissolve the Parliament, or schedule early elections – all this will look wild and ridiculous. Similarly, if the state or some officials begin to issue appeals on ecclesiastic topics, compose the texts of the Statutes of religious organizations, or engage in pushing “church autocephaly”, i.e. what the Church is busy with, – this activity is illegal and unconstitutional.”
He explained that members of our Church are the same citizens of Ukraine as everyone else, and have the right to express their views, including on political issues. “Similarly, state officials, up to the president, may or may not be members of the Church – laymen. And if one of the officials really belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by his faith, fidelity to the canons and participation in the sacraments, he/she also has the right to their private (!) opinion on church matters. But only as a layman, and no more than that,” added the hierarch.
The Bishop stressed that, in his opinion, participation in the political life of priests in the conditions of modern politics is out of place altogether: “Today’s policy separates people, whereas the vocation of the clergy is to unite.”
In addition, every believing person should be well aware of their place in life and in the hierarchy, both church and state. If the priest suddenly wants to become a deputy or president, then let him renounce his holy dignity and go to Parliamentarians. At the same time, if an MP or president strongly wants to become a metropolitan and “administer” the Church, then first let him try to go along this path from the very beginning: from entering the seminary school and ordinary obedience in the Church. This is logical.”
At the same time, he believes that the Church and the state have a lot of possible common ground that could bring, and often brings, great benefit to our society: “For example, the implementation of joint social, educational, cultural, historical projects, the joint organization of educational institutions, service in the penitentiary system, medicine, etc. Everything is possible with the good will of the parties.”
Earlier, Archbishop Theodosiy of Boyarka said that the interference of officials in the affairs of the Church is unprecedented.