UOC spokesman: State, not Church, should classify the conflict in Donbass

Deputy head of the UOC DECR Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich. Photo: UOC

How to classify this or that war is a question for the state, but not for the Church and the priests.

Not every conflict develops into a war, but every war is a conflict, Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, deputy head of the UOC DECR, said on “Radio Maria”, commenting on the reproaches to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that it “does not call things by their proper names”.

“Every war is a conflict, and calling the war a conflict is not a mistake, it is absolutely correct,” said the UOC spokesman. “What is happening there (in the east of Ukraine – Ed.) is a war, but the question is whether it is internal or with the participation of foreign forces.”

He stressed that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church does not speak out on this issue because the state itself should give a clear definition of the conflict.

“We are trying to avoid political definitions because, firstly, they do not bring any benefit and within the Church will not help in any way,” explained the spokesman for the UOC. “This is not the matter of the Church. There is the state’s definition, yesterday there was one power, today another, but these are questions to the authorities, to jurisprudence.”

According to him, due to the lack of a clear definition of conflict at the state level, difficulties arose even with the release of captives, in which the Church participated.

“The question arose: are they captives? After all, there can be captives when there is an open war when two countries are at war. Russia says no, we are not at war, although they contribute to this war for their part. It means that they are not captives, because there is certain legislation, and they are already called something in a different way – hostages or in some other way, I don’t know. But this is not my question, this is not a question of a priest, this is not a question of the Church – this is a question of the state, legislative bodies and various international structures how to classify a particular war. Let them figure it out between themselves — this is a war between Ukraine and Russia, or it is, after all, an internal conflict, or an internal conflict with elements of external intervention. This is a question for the General Staff, for anyone — just not for the Church and the priests,” the archpriest emphasized.

As the UOJ reported, the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church supported the initiative of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry to exchange captives in the “all-for-all” format and created a commission to facilitate this issue.

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