re; UOC-KP Says No Global Confrontation with UOC-MP
Patriarch Filaret: Despite Russia's influence on the UOC-MP, there is no global confrontation between this church and the UOC-KP
In an interview to the newspaper Universum, Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP) stated that his church does not want to be a "tool of foreign influence."
According to Patriarch Filaret, the UOC-KP wants "to live in peace and harmony with the Russian church," because, in the words of the primate, the church is one, there is not one God for Russian and another one for Ukraine. However, Patriarch Filaret stresses that the UOC-KP and the ROC "are divided only because of the sin of ambition, the desire of Moscow to rule over Ukraine, to the detriment of the Church of Christ."
Speaking about the independence of the state and church, Patriarch Filaret said that "if the Ukrainian church was not divided, and the Ukrainian denominations were not fighting each other but fighting for independence, we would have overcome Moscow's oppression and would have acquired autocephaly."
Patriarch Filaret affirmed that the events of the last year have proved that the Kyivan Patriarchate cannot be destroyed. "Recently we have lost a few parishes, but parishes are transferring from the Moscow to the Kyivan Patriarchate, as has happened, for example, in the Poltava Oblast. And even in these few parishes that experienced attacks, there is strong resistance, and so far they cannot be taken away from us," said the primate.
The most important protection, in the opinion of the head of the UOC-KP, is civil organizations and democratic and patriotic political parties. "Though in secular life they may be divided, the struggle to protect the Ukrainian church unites them," Patriarch Filaret said in the interview.
Patriarch Filaret also stated that "the clergy and bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate are realizing the necessity for the existence in Ukraine of an independent church. Moscow has noticed this. That and the fact that the UOC-MP is against Russia's imperialist ideology. Accordingly, Moscow has resolved to deny this church of autonomy and self-governance."
The primate believes that Patriarch Kirill is visiting Ukraine so often to remind Ukrainians that he is the head of the church, not Metropolitan Volodymyr. "The episcopate of the Metropolitan Volodymyr is resisting, inside the Moscow Patriarchate a struggle is being waged," explained the head of the UOC-KP.
According to Patriarch Filaret, "the struggle between the Kyivan and Moscow Patriarchates is no longer as overt as it used to be. There are separate transfers from one patriarchate to the other, but there is not global confrontation. This is a very good sign, which the government sees as well." And "if the government wants to rule, it should facilitate this process," explained the head of the UOC-KP.
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