The Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine, told Radio Svoboda about the reasons for the slow pace of transition of parishes from the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine (the so-called UOC-MP) to the OCU.
According to His Beatitude, the process is being slowed down by litigation.
“Recently, this worsened the process of transition. That’s because there is certain pressure being exerted, the legal struggle is now underway in courts, although we will win almost 100% of all lawsuits filed by the Moscow Patriarchate. They are trying to challenge the process. But if a community decides, no court will ever be able to ban or overturn that community’s decision. If they want to be with the Ukrainian church, they have such right, according to the Constitution and Ukrainian laws,” said Metropolitan Epifaniy.
It should be recalled that on the third anniversary of the Unification Council, the Spiritual Front wrote that in the short period after the event, a wave of transitions from the ROCinU to the OCU was being observed. This frightened the Putin regime, as the prospect of losing Ukraine from its sphere of influence became more real than ever, so the Kremlin allocated huge funds and deployed their strongest agents of influence to Ukraine, also hiring groups of thugs to intimidate most of the Moscow Patriarchate’s priests and bishops from switching for the OCU.
Nevertheless, courageous priests and believers of the ROCinU are not giving up attempts to finally become part of OCU and get out of the ROC grip. Although this process has slowed down in recent months, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has noted a positive trend, saying he is aware, how many ROCinu parishes in Ukraine are converting to the Autocephalous Church.
“This shows that autocephaly is strengthening, expanding, that people seek to have their own independent Church, that they don’t want to depend on Russia. And political relations between Russia and Ukraine are very tense now. It (the Ukrainian nation – ed.) wants to have its own Local Church and not depend on Moscow. That is why they (parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine – ed.) are gradually joining the Autocephalous Church,” said Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.