Kiev, December 17, 2018
The U.S. Embassy in Kiev released a message on Saturday congratulating Ukrainians with the creation of the new nationalist church.
The two messages on the Embassy’s Twitter page read: “We congratulate Ukraine on today’s historic Council to establish a local, independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and we warmly congratulate Metropolitan Epifaniy as head of the new church. We support all Ukrainians’ ability to worship as they choose. Tolerance and restraint are key to a peaceful transition period so that people with different religious affiliations can live and prosper together.”
(2/2) We support all Ukrainians’ ability to worship as they choose. Tolerance and restraint are key to a peaceful transition period so that people with different religious affiliations can live and prosper together.— U.S. Embassy Kyiv (@USEmbassyKyiv) December 15, 2018
The “unification council,” put on by the Patriarchate of Constantinople on Saturday, united Ukraine’s two schismatic groups into one new group and elected a primate from among the schismatic representatives, whereas Constantinople had tried to force the election of Simeon of Vinnitsa, a defector from the canonical Church.
Ukrainian politicians and schismatics have long sought an independent church that would define itself as “not Russian.” As the official site of the Ukrainian President reports, while speaking to a crowd gathered outside St. Sophia’s Church in Kiev following the election of the new primate, President Poroshenko exclaimed: “What is this church? This is a church without Putin. What is this church? This is a church without Kirill.”
In its bid to harm Russia, the initiative was backed and made possible by the intervention of foreign diplomats, Makary Maletich, the head of the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” one of the two structures that united on Saturday, admitted in an interview just days before the “council.”
“I know it,” Makary said. “Diplomats met with Philaret and with me. There were ambassadors from the U.S., Great Britain, and others. The meetings were held to find out whether we are ready to receive a tomos.”
Meanwhile, also just days before the “council,” Philaret Denisenko, the head of the “Kiev Patriarchate,” the other structure that joined the union on Saturday, awarded Jack Devine, the former Acting Director and Associate Director of the CIA, for his and the American government’s support of the Ukrainian autocephaly project.
Philaret has also awarded former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. John McCain for their support of the project. While speaking at an Atlantic Council event in September, Philaret expressed his thanks to America: “We thank the U.S. for supporting Patriarch Bartholomew’s intention to provide us with a tomos of autocephaly… We hope that the U.S. will help us bring our Church matter to an end.”
Moreover, U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel D. Brownback met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev on September 11, expressing the same support for Ukraine’s battle against the Moscow Patriarchate.
In October, the head of the U.S. Department of State, Mike Pompeo, put out a statement on Friday expressing the U.S.’s support for the creation of an autocephalous Church in Ukraine.
Canada’s Conservative Party has also expressed its support for Patriarch Bartholomew and his actions in Canada.
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