Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church commented on the All-Ukrainian Procession organized by Moscow Patriarchate

Monday, 25 July 2016, 12:26
Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Sviatoslav Shevchuk shared with the Department of the UGCC his impression of the so-called religious procession that moves to Kyiv.

“The religious procession organized by the UOC (MP) conveys a lot of non-religious elements. I think Ukraine’s religious people today are able to distinguish religious elements from political ones. No one has any reservations against the religious content... only the secular aspect of this procession raises concerns,” the hierarch said.

The patriarch recalled the tactics of human shields, which the aggressor used at the beginning of the war in Donbas: “They used old men, women and even children as a shield for armed criminals. And obviously, this type of behavior is simply the top of cynicism ... many also fear that those participants are used as a tool for some undeclared goal as it was the case in Donbas in the recent past.”

His Beatitude Sviatoslav stressed that the Moscow Patriarchate was often used as a tool in the hands of the aggressor and the problem lied in the fact that the Moscow Patriarchate community at the level of its spokespersons proved unable to conduct the dialogue with society. It gets more and more closed in itself, there is no openness to the public on the part if the Moscow Patriarchate. According to the UGCC Head, society expects some word which would explain all that the UOC (MP) initiates.

Yet another problem of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), according to Head of the UGCC, is that the leaders of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine do not want to bear responsibility for the actions initiated.

“Now the question arises: it is easy to initiate a thousand-people procession to Kyiv, but will the procession leaders and those who initiated it assume the responsibility thereof? May it be the case that they come to Kyiv and go out of control of their spiritual leaders? And then the clergy just make a helpless gesture and say they distance themselves from their activities. A lot of internal problems of the Moscow Patriarchate come to the surface, which the hierarchy does not control, is not responsible for, moreover, they publicly renounce the responsibility for the actions of their faithful,” the patriarch said.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav advised what to do in this situation:

“I would like to appeal personally to those who consider themselves Ukrainian patriots, who have publicly expressed opposition to the idea of ​​the religious procession and even want to obstruct it. I would like to warn you against any attempt to interfere with this procession, as this type of behavior plays totally into the hands of the enemies of Ukraine.

If the members of this religious procession cry out anti-Ukrainian slogans and arrange provocations, it will be the end of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine. I think that the hierarchy should understand this.

And on our part or on the part of those who consider themselves Ukrainian patriots, we shall not give in for provocations, but solely make a record of this type of behavior and present it to the public. I think the authorities also should do this. The clergy of the Moscow Patriarchate provides broad evidence of the behavior incompatible with the calling of a citizen of Ukraine. We were told this at the last meeting of the Head of Security Service of Ukraine with All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations. This should be openly stated!

I think that the transparency of society, the capability to really distinguish the ecclesial and political matters, the ability to be cautious and control emotions without falling for provocations - these are the principles to be observed, so that those who want to use the faithful of the Moscow Patriarchate as human shields for their anti-Ukrainian activities failed.”




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