State intrusion into Church matters is unheard of, – hierarch of the UOC

Vicar of the Kiev Metropolis Archbishop Feodosiy of Boyarka

When an opportunity turns up for politicians to use the name of the Church, they forget about its separation from the state, Archbishop Feodosiy believes.

The attempts to meddle with the religious life of society, which has been the case with political actors of Ukraine over the recent period, can be called unlawful and anti-constitutional without any exaggeration. It was stated by the assistant bishop of Kiev Metropolis Archbishop Feodosiy of Boyarka in his interview to NGO Public Advocacy.

"Politicians of different ranks often like to tell us that the Church is separated from the state. They remember this when the Church either needs help, or when it is forced to fight for the rights of its believers, or when it claims violation of moral laws and norms. In such cases, the Church is separated, which means that in their opinion, it should be silenced. However, the Church consists of citizens of Ukraine, who possess the fullness of their constitutional rights and freedom of speech," the bishop emphasized.

According to him, the unprecedented interference of state officials in the internal affairs of the Church, occurring recently in Ukraine, would immediately receive an adequate assessment of law enforcement agencies and the media in a country with the rule of law. "But, unfortunately, everything is different here," he said.

"As for the probable legalization of the schismatics and the probable creation of the" Single Orthodox Church "on their basis, it is doubtful that such an anti-canonical and at the same time primitive scenario is possible at all. And why "single"? Even if one assumes the legalization of some of the schismatic groups, then this will not only bring about unity, but will give birth to new splits. Where is the logic and the path to unity? It is not clear. I think it's just insomuch unclear for the Local Orthodox Churches, so if the issue is resolved in the foreseeable future, then it will be done solely in the canonical plane. And not so fast, as the Ukrainian pre-election situation and its figurants demand," the bishop believes.

In his opinion, "in order to survive spiritually in the modern world, it is necessary to hold fast to God and His Church. We can maximize such an opportunity in Ukraine: temples and monasteries are opened, the Divine Liturgy is performed on a daily basis, the Gospel is preached. Our Primate, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry, is a man of deep prayer and spiritual life, a role model and a convinced defender of the faith and the Church."

In mid-April, Poroshenko turned to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople with a request to provide Tomos on autocephaly to the Church in Ukraine and announced the creation of the Single Local Church. The Verkhovna Rada supported the appeal of the President. The Kyiv Patriarchate has already announced they see their leader – Filaret – at the post of the SLC head. As a reminder, Filaret Denisenko was anathematized by the canonical Church back in the 90-s.

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