Monday, May 23, 2022

    Russian priests don’t belong in Ukrainian Army in times of war – OCU’s Epifaniy

    There are many examples that can be found in public domain where Russian priests, since the onset of Russian aggression in 2014, have blessed militant warlords and other enemies who are killing our troops.

    That’s according to the Head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epifaniy, who spoke in an interview with Radio Svoboda.

    “We have been walking for more than 5 years toward the adoption of this law (on military chaplaincy – ed.). There had been more than 10 bills. But they did not satisfy the churches, religious organizations in Ukraine, which have their own chaplains. But in the Ukrainian Army, about 80% of chaplains are chaplains with the OCU. That is why we are grateful to the Verkhovna Rada for finally being able to pass the relevant bill,” said Bishop Epifaniy.

    According to the OCU leader, although there had been a clear notion in the bill stating that the priests of the church, whose decision-making center is located in the aggressor state, have no right to provide spiritual services to servicemen, it was later deleted.

    “But there is a reference there to the basic law, which is clearly spelled out. And there is a law on renaming the so-called ‘Ukrainian Orthodox Church’ into the ‘Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.’ It is not currently being implemented. But time will come when it will be fulfilled. The order of the Ministry of Culture on renaming has been partially suspended. And now, as far as we know, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine is considering whether it is in line with the Constitution or not. Although, I think it is, and yet the court is yet to pass a constitutional ruling,” said the head of the OCU.

    “On the other hand, our servicemen will not accept a Russian priest into their ranks now. There are a lot of examples. You can find it in the public domain, on the Internet, as they (Russian priests – ed.), since 2014, have been blessing warlords, blessing those who were killing our military,” said Metropolitan Epifaniy.

    According to Epifaniy, these are not isolated cases, and therefore there is no place for Russian priests in the Ukrainian Army in times of war, the actual war that is going on.