Monday, June 27, 2022

    “They found only 40 words for ROC”: OCU on UOC-MP Council’s decision to “disagree with Cyril,” proclaim “independence”

    The fact that the UOC-MP condemned Cyril’s position does not mean severing ties with him and the ROC, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine states.

    That’s according to a spokesman for the OCU, Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya) of Chernihiv and Nizhyn, who commented on the decision of the UOC-MP (ROCinU) Council for Channel 5.

    A week has passed (since the Synod of the UOC-MP), but the position proclaimed by the UOC-MP – which, according to Law 2662, the one they have been ignoring for three years already, they should actually be called the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine  – has not yet been clarified about the war, about the position of the Moscow Patriarch Cyril… Forty words found in the decisions of this Council to describe the war and their church’s attitude to war, the suffering of the Ukrainian people, everything that happened since February 2014 year, and especially from February 2022, are obviously not enough. Especially for a religious organization that claims a key role in the life of Ukrainian society. After all, they always refer to themselves that they are the largest church in Ukraine, and that they are supposed to unite Ukraine. And that’s all? Is this the church’s response? Is this a response to the destroyed temples? On the slain flock, clergy, and monks? Is this a decent response? I think the answer is obvious,” said the OCU spokesman.

    He commented on the main points of the Council’s resolution, emphasizing that the phrases about Russian aggression are as mild as possible, and condemnation of the actions of Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, who supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is not spelled out in the text. And the fact that the UOC-MP condemned the position of Cyril does not mean severing ties with him or the ROC.

    “And when it comes to the attitude to patriarch Cyril, the expression is used as follows:” We disagree with the position of the Moscow patriarch. ” What does it mean? Well, they disagreed. And what’s next? What do they demand from Patriarch Cyril? Do they still consider him their leader? ”

    He also commented on amendments to the statute of the UOC-MP, as they declared their “complete independence” from the ROC.

    “Statements of the UOC-MP on independence and autonomy have been made… But the decisions and documents have not clarified this. It should have been more clearly stated in the charter of the UOC-MP, the amendments to which were said to have been approved. But where are these changes? Where is this new text of the statute? A week has passed and no one has seen this text in public. There must be a document, because we only hear comments, and the comments are different, official, semi-official, but there must be a document,” said the archbishop.

    The UOC-MP Council also stated that it hopes for a dialogue with the OCU, and at the same time set a number of conditions for its holding. According to Archbishop Yevstratiy (Zorya), the purpose of the Council’s decision is to minimize the scope of discussion.

    “I hope that sooner or later the dialogue will begin, because it is an urgent need and without it we will not move forward to better coexistence and, finally, to the creation of a single Orthodox Church in Ukraine. But the way it is formulated in the resolutions of the UOC-MP Council is a political declaration.”

    Yevstratiy has added that the OCU does not accept the language of ultimatums from the UOC-MP, but they are ready to meet and at least discuss their positions. And if it turns out that the positions are irreconcilable, then “we need to go out and tell people about it.”

    In addition, the spokesman for the OCU summarizes that the question of whom the UOC-MP is subordinated to is also a question of national security of Ukraine.

    “The attitude to relations with and subordination to the Moscow Patriarchate is no longer a question of religious life, but that of Ukraine’s security, protection of Ukraine from Russian hybrid aggression. Therefore, on the one hand, no one can be forced to profess any religion, but the issues of jurisdiction, issues of legal subordination, reporting, compliance with instructions – these are issues that are subject to state regulation. After all, Ukraine has banned the operations of Russian banks, Ukraine has banned Russian media operations on the territory of Ukraine, even the railway has been cut off, the energy sector has been made independent of Russia, and so on. Therefore, the religious domain is not something that doesn’t need to be addressed and where the state can’t take measures to protect itself against its use by Russian authorities as an instrument of aggression against Ukraine,” said Yevstratiy (Zorya).