MPs urge to revoke a statement by Embassy in Montenegro on the UOC Primate

Non-factional MP of Ukraine Vadim Novinsky. Photo: mrpl.city

MPs of the VR demanded to revoke the Embassy's statement on the UOC Primate, calling him "the ROC hierarch, not authorized to express the opinion of the Orthodox."

On February 28, 2020, non-factional MP of Ukraine Vadim Novinsky and a group of his colleagues sent a collective deputy request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs addressed to its head Vadim Priestayko in light of a comment by the Embassy of Ukraine in Montenegro on the visit of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. This was announced by the deputy on Facebook.

According to Vadim Novinsky, “the officials of the Embassy of Ukraine in Montenegro went far beyond the powers defined by law, issuing a statement on behalf of the Embassy and therefore the whole Ukrainian state, according to which the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, who is staying in Montenegro at the invitation of His Eminence Metropolitan Amphilochios of Montenegro and the Littoral, is not the head of the Ukrainian Church. This was a gross state intervention in the affairs of the Church, cynically violating the Constitution, as well as laws on freedom of conscience and on the Cabinet of Ministers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has neither authority nor the need to comment and evaluate the actions of the church Hierarch thus positioning Ukraine as a xenophobic state.”

“The largest Orthodox faith in Ukraine – the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – is recognized by the entire Orthodox world, in contrast to the political organization of the OCU – the fruit of the union of Petro Poroshenko and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Our Primate, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, enjoys well-deserved authority among the faithful of all Orthodox Churches. His visit and fraternal support for the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro on behalf of the UOC in difficult times were warmly received by tens of thousands of believers who came to a prayer protest against the destruction of their Church by the same scenario as in Ukraine. This is a courageous act that inspires respect,” the politician writes.

He said that in connection with an unprecedented statement made by the Ukrainian Embassy in Montenegro, together his colleagues MPs Dmitry Shentsev, Dmitry Shpenov, Victoria Grib, Musa Magomedov and Sergey Magera, they sent a collective deputy request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs addressed to its head, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadim Priestayko.

The MPs demanded to immediately withdraw the statement of the embassy and officially refute the information contained in it to the world media.

“We expect the Foreign Ministry to immediately conduct an internal investigation and establish the reasons why it became possible to disseminate such anti-legal opinions by officials of the ministry. We demand from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to submit reports on measures taken to prosecute those responsible for the incident and measures to prevent similar precedents in the future, as established by the Law on the Status of People’s Deputy,” said Vadim Novinsky.

He expressed hope that “henceforth, the diplomatic and consular missions of Ukraine will refrain from commenting on foreign visits of representatives of religious denominations. It is relevant especially today, when dialogue and the search for consensus both within Ukraine and restoration of relations with neighboring states, spoiled by the Petro Poroshenko regime, are needed.”

The MP addressed his colleagues in parliament, members of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Foreign Policy and Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation, with a proposal to consider the situation at a committee meeting and evaluate this incident, which, in his opinion, discredited not only Ukrainian diplomacy but also the Ukrainian state.

“The Ukrainian Orthodox Church today is one of the few social institutions to enjoy the society’s confidence. It is engaged in its peacekeeping activities legally and throughout Ukraine, including temporarily uncontrolled regions being a bridge for Ukrainians on both sides of the demarcation line. Interfaith peace and observance of the principle of freedom of conscience guaranteed by the Constitution is one of the most important prerequisites for establishing peace, territorial integrity and unity of the country. I urge the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the executive branch to abide by the law,” concluded Vadim Novinsky.

As reported by the UOJ, earlier the Department for External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church issued an official statement in connection with the provocative commentary by the Embassy of Ukraine in Montenegro on the visit of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine to this country, which stated that diplomats had exceeded their official authority, thereby violating the Criminal Code of Ukraine, for which reason the UOC urged to bring those responsible to justice.

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