The Russian Orthodox Church is Concerned About the Political Pressure Exerted on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate
March 11, 2016. The head of the Moscow patriarchate department for external church relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk commented on the communication issued by the press-service of the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in relation to his meeting with the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew. According to it, one of the questions discussed during this meeting was the foundation of a ‘United Local Orthodox Church’ in Ukraine, as the website ria reports.
The Chairman of the Moscow patriarchate department for external church relations, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev) of Volokolamsk told the press members that the Patriarchate of Moscow is deeply concerned about the situation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
This is how he commented on the communication of the press service of Petro Poroshenko regarding his meeting with the Patriarch of Constantinople. Earlier the press service declared that the president and the Patriarch have discussed the future of Ukraine and the foundation of a ‘United Local Orthodox Church’ there. Patriarch Bartholomew himself, didn’t mention that such an item was included to the agenda.
“We are very concerned about the situation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – the single canonical church on the territory of Ukraine as it was once again unanimously recognized during the recent meeting of the representatives of local churches” said the metropolitan.
He emphasized that the UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate ‘undergoes political pressure’. Its churches are illegally seized, and the issues faced by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church prevail on the political agenda. There already exists a ‘United Orthodox Church’ in Ukraine – the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry. There is no need to create it. Those who dissented from it just need to come back – this is the simple solution of this problem’, stated the representative of the ROC.
Today Ukraine disposes of a canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church which is autonomous within the patriarchate of Moscow. There are also other church structures such as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian autocephalous church which are not recognized by the world orthodoxy.