No way: 'We will never tolerate a separate Ukrainian church' - Russian patriarch

16:58 Nov. 21, 2016

'We will never tolerate a separate Ukrainian church' - Russian patriarch

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (AP photo)

In spite that Moscow controls most part of Ukraine's religious network, he claims Russian Orthodox Church is being oppressed 

The Russian Orthodox Church will never tolerate a separation of the Ukrainian church from the Moscow patriarchy, the Primate Kirill claimed on Monday, the BBC Russian reports. 

"Our church will never leave its brothers in the lurch in Ukraine and will never refuse them. We will never agree with altering the sacred canonical borders of our church, for Kyiv is a spiritual cradle of the Holy Rus', just like Mtskheta for Georgia and Kosovo for Serbia," the patriarch said during the celebration dedicated to his own 70th birthday. 

The Ukrainian church is being involved in the deep conflict dividing the society and making it a hostage of the feud, according to Kirill. 

Read also Russian Orthodox Church and long tradition of clerical espionage

In Ukraine, the Moscow Orthodox Patriarchy controls all three principal lavras and most of the churches and monasteries, including the ancient ones, connected to the introduction of Christianity to the Kyivan Rus' in 988, long before the Moscow kingdom was even created. 

After centuries of the initial Kyivan Patriarchy existence, Moscow local Orthodox church assumed the patriarchy in the 17th century and proclaimed itself the only legitimate centre of the Eastern Orthodoxy, denying such historical rights of Kyiv. 

Two unrecognised by Moscow separate Orthodox churches are existing in Ukraine as of today. They are the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchy and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodoxian Church. 

Read also In expanding Russian influence, faith combines with firepower - New York Times

Unification of the Ukrainian Orthodox churches and resurrection of the ancient initial Kyivan Patriarchy instead of the Moscow religious influence is strongly supported by the Ukrainian authorities.  In July, the Verkhovna Rada appealed to The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew II to grant the Ukrainian church an autocephaly, which provides it a legitimate status of independence from Moscow. 


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