Met. Anthony: UOC opposes Patriarch Bartholomew’s arrival in Ukraine
Metropolitan Anthony noted that Vladimir Zelensky, before inviting Patriarch Bartholomew to Ukraine, should have taken care of how society would take it.
The UOC Chancellor, Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, said in the “Church and Society” programme that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is against the arrival of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to Ukraine.
Metropolitan Anthony noted that "Vladimir Aleksandrovich Zelensky is the President of Ukraine and no one can prevent him from meeting with the leaders of other states or with the leaders of certain religious associations".
However, in his opinion, the invitation to Ukraine of the head of the Patriarchate of Constantinople is a different issue "because the President must take care of the internal state of society, the internal situation".
Vladyka believes that “before inviting the head of a religious organization from another state, it was necessary to take care of how Ukrainian society would take it, whether it would lead to opposition movements”.
Metropolitan Anthony recalled that recently the UOC has repeatedly expressed its attitude to the head of the Phanar and stressed that “Patriarch Bartholomew illegally intervened in the religious situation in Ukraine, and this intervention led to confrontation, the seizure of temples of our Church, to the beating of our parishioners, our clergy."
“And the words of Vladimir Zelensky that Patriarch Bartholomew cares about peace in Ukraine sound rather discordant. Because we have not found a single case when Patriarch Bartholomew, knowing the real situation in Ukraine, somehow prevented what was happening. I mean the raider seizures of our churches, illegal re-registration. And all this happened precisely on the basis of those actions – illegal, I emphasize, actions – of Patriarch Bartholomew in Ukrainian Orthodoxy,” said Metropolitan Anthony.
Vladyka noted that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church “opposes Patriarch Bartholomew's arrival in Ukraine” as it can be assumed that “his visit will not serve peace in Ukraine but may become a new impetus to more global confrontations. The President must be aware of this and take care that not a single external situation, an arrival, leads to a new round of confrontation among believers."
“And here the fundamental thing is that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has repeatedly stated: we must learn to live according to the Constitution. And the Constitution directly says that the state is separated from the Church. Therefore, any interference of statesmen in the internal life of the Church contradicts our fundamental law,” resumed Metropolitan Anthony.
As reported earlier, Vladimir Zelensky invited Patriarch Bartholomew to Ukraine. Later, the Phanar head announced that he would arrive in August 2021.