Defamation of the Volyn diocese by Kiev Patriarchate

March 13, 2015. The official website of the Volyn diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) – UOC MP – made the official statement about the public offences of metropolitan Michael (Kiev Patriarchate).

Several Ukrainian web-based media communicated that the head of the Volyn diocese of the Kiev Patriarchate metropolitan Michael made a statement during events honoring the memory of the Ukrainian poet Tharas Shevchenko in Lutsk (Ukraine). In his speech he called the priests of the Moscow Patriarchate “separatists in cassocks” and the faithful of the Moscow Patriarchate – “slaves”.

In particular, the statement of the Volyn diocese (Moscow Patriarchate) says: “In such a case he presented false information as if our priests do not perform funerals for soldiers of the Antiterrorist operation (ATO) and do not participate in the panikhidas (commemorations of the dead faithful). Moreover metropolitan Michael mentioned that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is supposed to transfer its dioceses of Crimea to Russia. Metropolitan Michael’s speech is not just a deliberate lie, but his speech contains signs both of administrative offences and crimes. Firstly, it is a slander. Secondly, it’s a public insult. Thirdly, it’s an inciting of religious hatred”. The Volyn diocese announced that they will appeal to public prosecutor office and security services of Ukraine to check the facts described above.

The Volyn diocese (Moscow Patriarchate) also refutes the information which the head of the Volyn diocese (Kiev Patriarchate) mentioned in his speech. In particular, on the 11th of March this year at the official press-conference, which took place in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, there were given documentary evidence that the dioceses of Crimea stay a part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).

The Volyn diocese (Moscow Patriarchate) assures that its priests always perform funerals of the ATO soldiers upon their relatives’ requests. The priests of the diocese make also prayers for the state authorities and the army of Ukraine during each religious celebration. In the statement is affirmed: “Moreover the Church could not but perform funerals of its parishioners, there’s a big amount of our faithful among ATO soldiers. The Priests and laity of Ukrainian Orthodox Church always help to the Ukrainian army and forced migrants. So it is immoral to blame our faithful to be “slaves”, “of little worth” and “antichrists”. Hiding behind the soldiers of the ATO and trying as if to “assign” all of them, metropolitan Michael offends those real fighters who are our believers, calling them “antichrists”.

The document concludes: “In the light of the all mentioned above we call for metropolitan Michael to make official public apology for his words. In addition, by the fact of his speech the Volyn diocese of Ukrainian Orthodox Church will appeal to law-enforcement authorities.