On October 19, 2021, the clergy and believers of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine (the so-called UOC-MP) held a protest rally outside the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine against coronavirus vaccination. Proponents of the “Russian World,” several hundred of whom gathered amid the pandemic, carried posters with anti-vaccination slogans and prayed.
It is difficult to be surprised by such actions of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine lately. Various rallies, stands, and marches have become firmly rooted in their “worship practice.” However, the latest event differs from others as it contained signs of sabotage aimed at weakening the Ukrainian state.
First of all, it should be noted that with such a rally the clergy and the faithful went directly against the official position of their own leadership.
It is known that the head of the external church relations department at the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Ilarion (Alfeev), said this summer that “refusal to vaccinate is a sin that will have to linger for a lifetime,” and in October 2021 stressed that “all myths about the harmfulness of vaccination are absurd. ”
However, despite the fact that the ROC branch in Ukraine directly opposed its leadership, no one from the Moscow Patriarchate’s clergy was subjected to the relevant disciplinary measures.
We should not look for contradictions between the ROCinU actions and the official position of the Moscow Patriarchate. The answer may be that the Kremlin is interested in weakening the Ukrainian state and, as instructed by Moscow, is promoting the relevant agenda.
It is not difficult to predict that after the Moscow Patriarchate’s clergy has rallied several hundred believers in the city center, the diseases that are already gaining momentum in Ukraine are likely to spread even faster. This will place an additional burden on healthcare facilities and increase the number of deaths among coronavirus patients.
At the same time, we can assume that this act was also a propaganda stunt. We assume that the number of those defying vaccination after the so-called “prayer stand” of the ROCinU will also increase. As a result, the burden on the Ukrainian healthcare system will increase as well.
In such actions of the Moscow Patriarchate, the true nature of “concern” expressed by the ROCinU clergy for their parishioners and the Ukrainian people in general is clearly traced. We see that the Kremlin’s strategic goals and Moscow’s money are more important than the health and lives of Ukrainians. And the Moscow Patriarchate is likely to continue its anti-Ukrainian efforts with the signs of sabotage.