Kiev, October 14, 2014
Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP), has cited the occurrences of open aggression by the so-called “Kyiv Patriarchate” against UOC MP, its faithful and clergy. He reported this in his interview with the UOC’s official website on October 13.
“The UOC has been continuously blackmailed since February this year. The head of the “Kyiv Patriarchate” (Philaret Denisenko) has called upon people, literally, “to put pressure” on our Church several times… Only one priest in the Kherson Diocese of UOC voluntarily joined the schismatics. Then village residents were called to hold “referendums” on choosing the jurisdiction for churches of one or another village. A great number of citizens spoke up against leaving the canonical Orthodox Church and transfer to the schismatics. In order to suppress their constitutional rights the rule of physical force is used today. Documents are forged, locks are broken, people are beaten up and kicked out of churches,” the UOC chancellor noted.
“Everyone remembers how loud the “Kyiv Patriarchate” demanded a dialogue with our Church. Today the format of dialogue for the so-called “Kyiv Patriarchate” is irrelevant. Its head feels certain that the use of the techniques of raider seizures and robbery will be much more effective. There are a sufficient number of political forces ready (on a wave of populism) to provide physical force for the “Kyiv Patriarchate” in such activities,” Metropolitan Anthony noted.
The UOC chancellor has described the scheme which invaders of UOC churches traditionally use. He has also explained the difference between a seizure and a voluntary transfer of a community to a jurisdiction of the “Kyiv Patriarchate”.
“A decision of transfer of a parish to another jurisdiction can be made only by members of a parish council under the chairmanship of the church rector. Governmental bodies have a right to register the changes in the parish charter, provided that the diocesan hierarch has approved the decision of this meeting. This is a typical procedure not only for UOC, but also for every Ukrainian religious organization, including the “Kyiv Patriarchate”. According to the legislation, if there are at least ten people in a settlement unwilling to move from UOC to another jurisdiction, no one has a right to abolish their church community. Otherwise, it will be a seizure,” the UOC chancellor stressed.
The hierarch has added that, “If there are people in a settlement who wish to become members of the so-called “Kyiv Patriarchate”, the state should satisfy their demand and register a new community according to the law, but not at the cost of the UOC believers”.
According to Metropolitan Anthony, by now ten churches of UOC have been seized by representatives of the “Kyiv Patriarchate”. These are the churches located in the Rivne, Volynsk, Ternopil, and Lviv regions.