Hierarchs from the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (in unity with the Moscow Patriarchate) came to the Office of the President of Ukraine and demanded a meeting with the leader. The bishops of the UOC (MP), led by Metropolitan Onufriy (Berezovsky), declared that they were ready to stand and wait for as long as it takes. Among them is the leader of the pro-Russian wing of the UOC (MP) Antony (Pakanych), who is likely the inspirator behind the stunt.
The Spiritual Front of Ukraine explains why the action is a PR move and provocation rather than an expression of their desire for dialogue.
Firstly, the representatives of the UOC (MP), having enough time and opportunities, didn’t seek to arrange a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky in the manner established by the protocol. They purposely, at the last moment, spontaneously and brazenly went to such an impromptu act in order to commit a provocation because they knew that Volodymyr Zelensky would not meet them given such “dialogue setup”. The president of Ukraine has many other things to dael with amid the ongoing war. He does not sit idly waiting for guests from the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra to come and launch dialogue. It doesn’t take to be a politician to understand that.
Their prejudiced attitude toward the dialogue with Zelensky can be seen from the fact that they sought not a dialogue, but to create an image of how “persecuted” they are and how, allegedly, even the president of Ukraine does not want to listen to them.
The fact that a close-up of the security checkpoint was included in the live video broadcast of the event adds to the piquancy. How was the operator of the UOC (MP) not arrested for such a crime during martial law?
Russian propagandists have already begun to use the provocation of the UOC (MP) to justify the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine. They say that the Russian troops should eliminate the “Kyiv regime” so that they do not persecute the “canonical Church.”
Thus, the UOC (MP) did not set a goal of dialogue, but wanted to show how “persecuted” they are. They intend to go to the end in their confrontation with the authorities. In fact, the UOC (MP) once again showed that they are not going to cleanse themselves of the occupiers in cassocks, stop spreading the ideas of the “Russian world” and break unity with the Russian Church, while claiming that all criminal proceedings against suspected collaborators with the UOC (MP) and bringing them to responsibility is, in their opinion, “persecution of the Church”.