UOC responds to Ministry of Culture’s accusation of collaboration with LNR

The accusations, which the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine made known in its statement to Metropolitan Mitrofan of Lugansk and Alchevsk, are groundless and do not fall within the competence of this department. This is stated in the Commentary of the Department of External Church Relations of the UOC.

On 13 July, the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine issued a statement accusing Metropolitan Mitrofan (Yurchuk) of Lugansk and Alchevsk of allegedly collaborating with the authorities of the so-called "LNR", citing the interview of the head of the LNR's Religious Affairs Committee Andrei Litsoyev of April 30, 2016.

"The Ministry of Culture went beyond its powers and began to perform functions not specific to it. Metropolitan Mitrofan categorically rejects all accusations in his address and declares the falsity of the information presented in the interview of A. Litsoyev. We regard this statement as a provocation aimed at discrediting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and personally Metropolitan Mitrofan.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church today is present where there is no Ukrainian government. People who are not controlled by the Ukrainian authorities are still citizens of Ukraine. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in the person of its episcopate and clergy, stayed with our people in the difficult conditions they now live in. Our clergy have remained faithful to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, whose centre is in Kiev.

The mission of the Church in terms of conflicts and wars is to reconcile the parties. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the only religious organization that participates in the release of prisoners. More than fifteen Ukrainian soldiers have been released from the captivity by the efforts of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Therefore, information provocations and groundless accusations of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church jeopardize the possibility of our further efforts to assist in the release of captives.

The reference of the Ministry of Culture to the information from unverified sources, namely, to an interview with one of "LNR" representatives of a year ago demonstrates the incompetence and unprofessionalism of the officials of the Ministry of Culture.

The statement of the Ministry of Culture may indicate an attempt to prepare the ground for further provocations against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

That is why we call on the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine:
  • not to abuse power and act within the powers defined by law;
  • not to provoke hostility on religious grounds between Ukrainians;
  • to stop discrimination against the largest Church in the country, which represents millions of Orthodox believers in Ukraine," emphasizes the DECR of the UOC.
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