Kiev, August 1, 2018
According to the self-proclaimed “patriarch” of the so-called “Kiev Patriarchate,” Philaret Denisenko, God allowed the current military conflict to break out in eastern Ukraine so that his schismatic organization may grow.
In a recent interview with “Direct Channel,” he stated that he sees his mission as expanding the structure of the “Kiev Patriarchate” at the expense of the canonical Ukrainian Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, explaining that he sees God’s intervention in this mission by allowing the war in Donbass: “People see who defends the Ukrainian state and Ukrainian land—the Kiev Patriarchate, or the Moscow Patriarchate? The Kiev Patriarchate is defending, because the Moscow Patriarchate defends the aggressor.”
Denisenko made an even more forceful statement in November 2016, when he declared that the war in Donbass was God’s punishment upon the people for their referendum on independence.
“We should not think that the population of Donbass is innocent in these sufferings. It is guilty! And it must expiate its guilt by torment and blood,” Denisenko argued.
“Did you vote for federalization in the referendum? Yes, you did. Did you sin? You did! So here is the consequence of your sin. If you had not sinned, if you had not voted, then you would have not suffered so much,” Philaret, more a politician than a spiritual leader, insisted.
“We do not force anyone to join the Kiev Patriarchate. We do not want to incite religious enmity, so as not to give Moscow a reason to interfere in our religious affairs,” Philaret said in his recent interview.
While claiming he does not want to incite enmity, he also reiterated his conviction that the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church should not be allowed to have any property in Ukraine. “Church property in Ukraine is the property of the Ukrainian Church,” he said, meaning his schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate.” “Both the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras will be transferred to the Ukrainian Church, because they are Ukrainian holy sites.”
Taking his cue, Ukrainian radicals have attempted several times to seize Ukrainian holy sites, including the two Lavras. A bomb threat was also made against the Caves Lavra in March. In April, radicals calls on the Ukrainian state to take the Pochaev Lavra away from the canonical Ukrainian Church. More bomb threats were called in against several churches and another was attacked with a smoke bomb and vandalism over the weekend, while the celebrations for the 1,030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’ were being held.
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