Kiev, December 25, 2018
The newly-created Ukrainian Church needs to work on softening its views towards the LGBT community and supporting the gay community in Ukraine in order to not be like the conservative Russian Church, “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, the head of Ukraine’s new nationalist church said in a recent phone conversation.
Epiphany was called by Russian pranksters claiming to be David McAllister, a German member of the European Parliament, calling to offer congratulations on his election and support for the future of the new Ukrainian church. Interestingly, the callers spoke in English and Epiphany responded in Russian.
Epiphany told the callers that he was ready for immediate reforms in the church and for working towards softening the church’s stance towards the LGBT community in order to be more like Europe and less like Russia.
“Unfortunately, not all Ukrainians share western tolerance, but without this, you cannot be part of the European family, and the church usually has a conservative position. But you have the opportunity to lead this movement—making Ukraine part of Europe. This is not a question for today, but it should not be delayed,” the pranksters said.
Of course, I am for starting reforms in the church, so there wouldn’t be conservatism, so we would depart from Russian tradition and so the church would be open and a spiritual guide for the Ukrainian people. Because we are moving towards Europe, and therefore we should depart from the Russian conservative tradition. The church should be more open, because Russian Orthodoxy is very conservative and far from the people. I have the position that we should be with the people. We should understand their problems.
“I know that the Church has a conservative position, and if the new church will soften its position regarding the LGBT community, the gays of Ukraine, and it will take liberal values, it will be a great stimulus to develop European values. We spoke with Secretary Pompeo and he agrees that you should the increase your LGBT and gay values in the future,” the callers responded.
The new Ukrainian primate replied that the church needs to work on the Ukrainian people to adopt European values: “This is a difficult issue that we should not raise at the beginning of our journey, because, you know how Ukrainian society perceives this question. Now we need to work on it, so Ukrainian society would accept it. It’s a long path. Of course we will discuss and seek for answers to these complex questions.”
The Ukrainian nationalist church’s press service later acknowledged that the call had taken place and stated: “During the conversation, Metropolitan Epiphany got a feeling that it was a provocation, so he ended it,” but not before he spoke with the pranksters for at least 15 minutes.
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