Spokesman for UOC: Power changed but MFA continues to lobby for OCU
Ukrainian diplomats continue to implement the religious policy of the previous government despite Zelensky’s statement on the state’s non-interference in church affairs.
Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, Deputy Head of the Department for External Church Relations of the UOC, believes that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine should stick to their job. He wrote about this on his Facebook page, commenting on the recent meeting of the Ambassador of Ukraine to Greece Sergey Shutenko with the hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Church.
“It is interesting why, when the power changed, diplomats continue to implement the religious policy of the previous government, which (both politics and power) generated so many problems and conflicts in the religious life of the country and showed not only its inefficiency but also harmfulness,” the clergyman noted.
He suggested that the Foreign Ministry may be doing this by inertia, continuing to carry out the instructions that it received a year ago.
“De facto, the state body is lobbying for the interests of one of the many religious organizations that exist in Ukraine,” said the archpriest. “Moreover, the recognition or non-recognition of the OCU is a purely internal church rather than state matter.”
The head of the UOC DECR asked why the Ukrainian state, in the person of its Ambassador, “is so worried” about the OCU, and not, for example, about the UOC – the country's largest religious organization or for Ukrainian Muslims or Protestants: “After all, they also have many similar problems inside.”
“Some Greek media outlets even wrote that Ambassador S. Shutenko conveyed “the will of the Ukrainian people”. This is an obvious lie. “The will of a small part of the Ukrainian people” – that would be true. Indeed, in fact, the will of the overwhelming majority of the Ukrainian people is that the authorities do not interfere in church affairs. In addition, such actions by Ukrainian diplomats do not correspond to the religious policy of the President Zelensky, who repeatedly stated the need for the state’s fundamental non-interference in church affairs,” resumed Fr. Nikolai.
As reported, on September 26, 2019, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Greece Sergey Shutenko met with the head of the Canon Law Committee of the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Chrysostom. According to Shutenko himself, he discussed with the Greek hierarch "a wide range of issues related to the recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine".