Metropolitan Hilarion calls law on UOC renaming unjust

Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk. Photo:

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is self-governing and consists of Ukrainians, which means it is unfair to rename it as “the Russian Church”, the ROC hierarch believes.

The head of the DECR of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, called the law adopted during Poroshenko's tenure on renaming the UOC unjust and discriminatory against the largest religious denomination in Ukraine. The position of the hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church on this issue was conveyed by the official website of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Metropolitan Hilarion noted that with the arrival of President Zelensky, the authorities did not abolish the unjust law, according to which, if the leading centre of a religious organization is located outside Ukraine, it must indicate the name of this centre in its name.

As the archpastor emphasized, the adopted law opened up the opportunity for the Ukrainian authorities to change the name of the UOC to "the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine". The goal of this bill is to discriminate the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and in the context of political infighting between Ukraine and Russia to declare it an outlaw, the DECR chairman added. 

“But the Ukrainian Orthodox Church opposes the change of its name for several reasons, Metropolitan Hilarion underscored. Firstly, the centre of this Church is not located in Moscow, but in Kiev. This is a self-governing Church, which determines its domestic and foreign policy at its own discretion and elects its hierarchs and its head without consent of Moscow, being not in the least dependent on the Russian Church, neither in financial, nor in administrative, or in any other aspect. It is the national Church of Ukraine, and it would have been unfair to rename it into the ‘Russian Church.’ The Ukrainian Church consists not of the citizens of Russia, but its members are Ukrainians by birth and by passport. They are patriots of their country.”

The hierarch assured that the UOC retains its independence from the Russian Church in all matters without exception, including finance and administrative management. He stressed that the Ukrainian Church consists of Ukrainians by birth and by passport, who are patriots of their country.

“That is, it is the national Church of Ukraine, and it is completely unfair to rename it ‘the Russian Church’,” the metropolitan added.

As reported by the UOJ, on April 1, 2021, the believers of the canonical Church, representatives of communities affected by the raider actions of the OCU and the Kiev Patriarchate handed over to President Vladimir Zelensky an appeal on the persecution of the UOC asking him to repeal anti-church discriminatory laws. The appeal was signed by over 1,063,000 people.

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