OCU not allowed to serve at St. Sophia’s on the Day of the Baptism of Rus’
The "Sophia of Kiev" administration refers to the norms for the preservation of the monument, while the UOC KP connects the ban with the reluctance to support the OCU.
The OCU will not serve on the Day of the Christianization of Rus’ inside the temples of St. Sophia of Kiev, reports “Vesti”, citing its own source in the Kiev Patriarchate.
According to the representative of the UOC KP, the OCU submitted a petition to the Ministry of Culture about holding a solemn "worship" at St. Sophia’s, but they were refused "according to the official version because of too many believers who could come". However, he is convinced that the real reason for the ban lies in the unwillingness of the authorities to support “Petro Poroshenko’s project”.
At the same time, on the official website of the OCU, people are urged to join the “divine service”, which will begin at 8:30 in the morning “in the old shrine of the Ukrainian people – at St. Sophia’s Cathedral of Kiev.”
However, according to the source from the UOC KP, the “liturgical service” of the OCU will take place not inside but outside the cathedral.
“We know that a decision has been made to allow the OCU to serve in Sophia – but just on the street, outdoors. This will be done in order not to make the moment with the non-acceptance of the OCU by the new authorities too obvious,” stressed the representative of the Kiev Patriarchate.
In her commentary, the Director-General of the “Sophia of Kiev” National Sanctuary Complex Nelia Kukovalskaya said that “there was an appeal to the Ministry of Culture, it gave us an instruction to provide a liturgy on the street, and no one even said inside (St. Sophia’s Cathedral – Ed.) nothing is known about it.”
“I would not allow them: the norms of preserving the monument do not allow this, because the service provides for the presence of a large number of people, and the Cathedral can house no more than 120 people at a time – along with the choir, clergy, and believers. And they (the OCU – Ed.) invite more. We even restrict the presence of believers in the territory so that Sophia does not suffer: the thousand-year temple should be kept in special conditions,” Kukovalskaya noted.
According to political analyst Ruslan Bortnik, this is overcautiousness on the part of officials, who do not yet have an understanding of what the policy of President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky will be in church matters.
“There is already a fact of a meeting of the President with Onuphry (Primate of the UOC – Ed.), so the officials do not want to give clear preferences to the OCU, so as not to seem like continuers of the “Tomos theme” of Petro Poroshenko. This is such a “silent sabotage” with the help of bureaucratic methods,” the expert noted and stressed: everyone in the vertical of power understands that without state support, the OCU project “will not be very competitive”.
As the UOJ reported, earlier the head of the OCU Epiphany Dumenko said that on the Day of the Christianization of Rus’, the OCU will perform a solemn "divine service" in a "special place for Ukrainian Orthodoxy" – St. Sophia’s Cathedral.