Kiev, January 17, 2019
Making no attempt to hide the nationalist character of the newly-created “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko recently took to Twitter to laud the former canonical bishops who prioritized the “Ukrainian faith” above all.
Referring to the apostates Simeon Shostatsky and Alexander Drabinko, former metropolitans of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the head of state wrote: “Some hierarchs of the UOC-MP, no matter how they were pressured, clearly set priorities for themselves: the Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian faith, and the Ukrainian Church—above all.”
Деякі ієрархи УПЦ МП, як би на них не тиснули, чітко поставили перед собою пріоритети: український народ, українська віра і українська церква – понад усе. Завдяки і їхній позиції нам вдалося отримати Томос про автокефалію Православної Церкви України.— Петро Порошенко (@poroshenko) January 16, 2019
The President did not elaborate on how the “Ukrainian faith” is distinct from the Orthodox faith shared by all other Orthodox peoples.
He also notes that the participation of hierarchs from the canonical Church was necessary for receiving the tomos: “Thanks to their position, we managed to receive the tomos of autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” Constantinople declared the schismatics of the “Kiev Patriarchate” and the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” to be fully canonical hierarchs on October 11, but no other Local Church has been willing to accept them thus far, and the Serbian and Polish Churches have officially denounced them.
Such a mix of nationalism and a distorted Orthodoxy is nothing new for Poroshenko, the architect of the new schismatic structure along with Patriarch Bartholomew.
“The issue of the tomos of autocephaly for the Orthodox Church of Ukraine goes beyond the religious framework,” Poroshenko said in August. “It’s on the same level as the strengthening of the army, the defense of our language, and the fight for members in the EU and NATO. It’s another strategic reference point on our historical path. It’s an important component of our independence.”
While in the U.S. in September, Poroshenko spoke of Orthodox Churches as needing protection against one another, saying: ”It is our task to protect Ukraine from that foreign Church,” adding that Ukrainians will no longer ask Putin which Church to go to, revealing the fundamental connection between church and state in his understanding of Orthodoxy.
In a speech before the Ukrainian Parliament on September 20, Poroshenko declared that Russians and Ukrainians understand Orthodoxy differently.
In the same speech, he even declared that the Russian Orthodox Church worships a different god than that of the Ukrainian Church, and that Ukrainians would not bow down to foreign gods.
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