Tulchyn, Ukraine, November 30, 2018
His Eminence Metropolitan Jonathan (Yeletskikh) of Tulchyn and Bratslav has offered a copy of the Priest’s Service Book to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s advisors for them to look through after the head of state made a blatantly false statement about the services of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The service book contains the text of the liturgical services of the Church for use by priests and deacons.
Speaking with residents of the village of Kozelets in the Chernigov Province on Wednesday, Poroshenko stated that Ukraine has “the right to have its own church,” and that Ukrainians “have earned the right not to have a church guided by Moscow.”
However, the problem was in what the president said next. The president’s personal press service reports his words in English: “How can one go to church if the divine service there begins with prayer for Kirill, for Putin, for the Russian army. What relation do they have to Ukraine?”
As Met. Jonathan and many others point out, and as anyone who attends Church services knows, prayers are read out for the head of state and military of whatever country the parish is in. No one is mentioned by name.
Moreover, none of the services of the Church begin with prayers for the head of state and military.
In response to OrthoChristian’s request for clarification about the Church’s prayers and why Poroshenko might think the Church prays for Putin and the Russian military, one monk of the Kiev Caves Lavra responded with a reference to the Lord’s words in the Gospel of John (8:44-45): “He is just doing the work of his father, as usual. I am not be surprised.”
In response to the president’s blatantly false accusation, Met. Jonathan offered a service book so that the president and his advisors could see for themselves that there are no prayers for Russian President Vladimir Putin or the Russian military included in the services, reports Met. Jonathan’s personal site.
The metropolitan, along with priests from his diocese, intends to present the advisors with the service books with a “respectful request to find in them the non-existent fake prayers for the Russian military and for the President of the Russian Federation V. Putin.”
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