Metropolitan Anthony: Tomos “fire” was fueled by previous government
It seemed to political strategists of the previous power that the “church issue” would cover socio-economic problems, but they were wrong, said Met. Anthony (Pakanich).
On August 5, 2019, in an interview with "Vesti", the UOC Chancellor Metropolitan Anthony of Borispol and Brovary spoke about the domestic political consequences of signing the Tomos in Ukraine and what he expects from President Zelensky.
Commenting on the political aspects of the bestowal of the Tomos to the OCU, the bishop noted: “Global and local political interests are closely intertwined in it. In short, the Tomos fire was largely fueled by the electoral tasks of the previous government. It seemed to a number of political strategists that with the help of the church issue, it was possible to cover up problems in the social and economic spheres of the country, thereby ensuring their customer to be elected for the second term. But they got it wrong.
As soon as the previous power sank into oblivion, immediately the theme of the Tomos and autocephaly went into the tenth plan. The society is not interested in this topic. People are a hundred times more worried about the problems of achieving peace, restoring the economy and a familiar lifestyle. This once again indicates that this whole epic with the Tomos was artificially inflated to solve specific electoral problems.”
Vladyka Anthony answered the accusations against the UOC of anti-Ukrainian views.
“We do not need to prove anything to anyone. Our activity indicates that we are the Church of our people. Unlike politicians, we do not divide Ukrainians into “right” and “wrong”. And this allows us, without fear and without excusing ourselves, to simultaneously repair the hospital in Zaporozhye for the needs of wounded soldiers and transfer humanitarian aid to the Donbass to ordinary people who suffer from the consequences of the confrontation. And insinuations are built on fakes. Many times, we have come across the information that we allegedly kept weapons, called for a change in the political system, and refused to read a funeral service for ATO soldiers. However, whenever our side asked for specifics on these charges, our opponents suddenly fell silent. Unfortunately, a powerful information campaign maintained at the highest echelons of power was carried out against our Church.
It is clear that it is difficult to change something in such a situation. But we continued to honestly serve people and our homeland, knowing that sooner or later the truth would triumph.
By the way, in this context, I would like to recall one interesting historical aspect. In the XVII century, when Poland controlled part of the present Ukrainian lands, the Orthodox Church was also pressured, for which there were both religious and purely political reasons. How was this done? – By similar methods. Our Orthodox clergy were labelled “Turkish spies” because then our Church was under the omophorion of the Patriarch of Constantinople, who was resided in Istanbul. Don’t you think that this situation painfully recalls what was imputed to our Church just a year ago?” Metropolitan Anthony emphasized.
When asked if there was any hope that the election of President Vladimir Zelensky could improve relations the State-Church relations, the hierarch said: “We do not expect preferences from the authorities. It is important for us that the laws that guarantee the separation of the State from the Church and the observance of the fundamental human right to freedom of conscience are respected. If the new President can ensure this, the situation will quickly improve on its own.”
As reported, earlier the UOC Chancellor Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) commented on the statement of President Vladimir Zelensky, who called on the Church for dialogue. “Of course, we are not against dialogue and have publicly stated this more than once. But any full-fledged dialogue can be built only on trust and the lack of desire of one of the parties to break their opponents through the knee,” the hierarch explained.