The head of the External Church Relations Department of the UOC MP, Metropolitan Meletii of Chernivtsi and Bukovyna in an interview with a Greek publication accused the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and its believers of “dividing the people within the country.”
“This denomination is simply cynically using the developments that are so tragic for our people, continuing to seize our temples by force in those regions of the country where there are no active hostilities going on. At a time when we all need national unity, when the enemy is in the east and south of the country, representatives of the OCU are working to divide the people inside the country, forcefully taking away our churches, slandering our Ukrainian Orthodox Church, our parishioners who defend their country, on the same Ukrainians as themselves,” said the UOC MP bishop.
“The OCU behavior is our national calamity. No other denomination in the country (neither Roman Catholics, nor Greek Catholics, nor Protestants) behaves as they do. The only large-scale inter-confessional conflict in the country is caused by representatives of the OCU and people sympathizing with them on the ground,” Meletii continued.
It should be recalled that the survey run by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) shows that 54% of the respondents identified themselves as part of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. In this way, Metropolitan Meletii accused the majority of Ukrainians of “split”.
“For many years and even now, the OCU representatives have been deliberately trying to label us as a Church that is alien to Ukraine, deliberately calling us the ‘Russian Church in Ukraine,’ despite the fact that we have always been, are, and will be the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, consisting of ethnic Ukrainians and citizens of Ukraine. This is a very dangerous narrative that has already brought a lot of trouble to our country,” said the Metropolitan of Chernivtsi and Bukovyna, probably alluding to the claim by UOC MP Archpriest Mykola Danylevych that it is the OCU that is “guilty of war.”
“It seems to me that our government is beginning to understand this problem. For example, the Minister of Culture of Ukraine, Oleksandr Tkachenko, in recent months in his public speeches has already said several times that both the UOC and the OCU are ‘our two Ukrainian churches,’ that there is no ‘Russian Church in Ukraine,’ but the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” the metropolitan of the UOC MP noted, forgetting to add that Minister Tkachenko at the same time demanded from the UOC MP make public its statute, amended on May 27.
As usual, the UOC MP bishop could not help but say that they are the “only right kind of Church”: “At the same time, I would like to note that our Church is a historical and traditional Church for Ukraine, in contrast to the OCU, which was newly created four years ago on based on schismatic groups that broke away from us. Probably, this is precisely what explains their aggressive behavior towards our Church, from which they broke away and whose name and history they seek to fraudulently appropriate.”