UOC hierarch comments on the meeting of Shmyhal with Patriarch of Georgia
The hierarch of the UOC believes that instead of lobbying the interests of the OCU, officials in Ukraine should deal with issues in other vital fields.
On June 4, 2021, Bishop Viktor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka, the vicar of the Kyiv Metropolis and head of the Representation of the UOC to European International Organizations, commented on the words of the Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine Alexander Tkachenko about the meeting of Denis Shmyhal with Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia.
According to the hierarch of the UOC, Tkachenko "transparently hinted that a high representative of the Ukrainian government in a conversation with the Primate of the Georgian Orthodox Church lobbied for the interests of one confession in Ukraine – the OCU."
Vladyka reminded the officials that according to the Constitution of Ukraine, the Church in Ukraine is separated from the state, "which means that the Ukrainian government should not interfere in church affairs, no matter how important they seem to it." Especially "when there are cases that need to be resolved immediately by government officials – in the economic, social, medical, educational and other vital spheres," the bishop emphasized.
He also noted that "from the lips of representatives of the Ukrainian political community, words have repeatedly sounded that not a single confession in our country has a priority in the eyes of the state, everyone enjoys freedom and the same rights".
“However, in practice we see a completely different picture – when the top officials of Ukraine are concerned about the interests of one confession, while neglecting the interests of millions of believers of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” wrote Bishop Viktor.
Vladyka also believes that "when the assistance of the state is needed for the recognition of the canonicity of the church structure on the part of the Local Orthodox Churches, this obviously indicates that this structure has serious problems, which make it impossible for other Churches to recognize it."
As reported earlier, according to Alexander Tkachenko, Shmyhal's meeting with Patriarch Ilia II is important for the recognition of the OCU.