An official statement on the occasion of the appeal by Patriarch Kiril to the Primates of the sui juris Orthodox Churches

Friday, 15 August 2014, 17:47
Patriarch Kiril, Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, urged the Primates of the sui juris Orthodox Churches to raise their voices in defense of the Orthodox Christians of Eastern Ukraine from “uniates” and “schismatics”. In response, we are publishing this official statement.

1. The tragedy which Ukraine is undergoing today due to the armed aggression is a tragedy for the whole nation, affiliates of all confessions, all social classes.   Destroyed are buildings, churches, and monasteries belonging to various Churches, nationalities and religions.  The clergy of all confessions are suffering and are risking their lives by carrying out their pastoral services in the Donetsk, Luhansk regions and in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

The Ukrainain Greek-Catholic Church has appealed throughout all the months of the  violent  uprisings for searching ways of peacefully regulating this.  Simultaneously, it does not contradict the right and obligation of Ukrainian citizens to protect their freedom and independence.  Together with representatives of other Churches and religious organizations, UGCC is making concrete efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims-residents of the Eastern regions of Ukraine, regardless of their nationality or religious affiliation.

We categorically condemn any violence towards the peaceful residents of Ukraine, especially its clergy, regardless of the fact to which confession, religious or ethnic group they may belong.  Once again, we remind all of the appeal of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations for an immediate end of the violence and the surrender of arms by all illegally armed contingents, whose evil deeds have taken the lives of hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers, law enforcement personnel, and civilians, including women and children.

2. Attempts to claim that during the Anti-Terrorist  Operation (ATO) the Orthodox faithful of the Moscow Patriarchate are the only ones who suffer, is a dangerous intention to set off the whole  Ukrainian society against one confession.  Intolerable is the evil attempt to label the realization of the natural right of the Ukrainain people for freedom and independence of their country, into the inter-confessional area, which provokes new tensions and new sadness in Ukrainian society – this time in the activities of inter-confessional relations.  Today Ukraine needs from its church men not a provocation of violence, but a construction of peace.

3. Ukrainian armed forces  are not structured according to confessions.  Therefore, in the area of ATO activities, there are chaplains of various confessions.  They perform their duties according to the basic normative rules of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, which are formulated with the advice of the Inter-Confessional Pastoral Council, among whose members there are also representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.  A chaplain has never intruded into the life of the local religious congregations.  Any sort of accusations, that UGCC chaplains engage in violence towards representatives of other Churches and religious organizations, are falsehoods that we decisively reject.

4. We urge the Primates of all Christian Churches, religious and state leaders, the international community to express their solidarity with the Ukrainian in people at this difficult time.  We appeal to all honest people of goodwill to make an appropriate assessment of any kind of aggression against our country, no matter under what slogans this aggression be hidden.  Let us do everything together so that the bloodshed be ceased, that there be peace in Ukraine, that justice and good neighbor relations between neighboring countries and peoples in the contemporary world be ensured.


Archpriest Ihor Yatsiv,

Manager, UGCC  Department of Information


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