Kiev, March 19, 2019
The state is on the side of the church that supports it, and therefore there’s nothing wrong in it obliging its officials to influence parishes, says Philaret Denisenko, the ideological leader of the Ukrainian autocephaly movement and “Honorary Patriarch” of the new schismatic church.
“The state contributes—it’s a fact,” Philaret said in a recent interview with the Ukrainian site Glavkom, “just as the President contributed to receiving the tomos.”
At the same time, “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, the primate of the schismatic church, says he knows nothing about such state involvement.
“But the state contributes as the President did, from its state positions, protecting itself. Should the President protect the state? Everyone would say it should. How? Just as he did it. Should the local authorities contribute to the unification of Ukrainian society or not? Or should it divide society?” Philaret asked.
However, at the same time, he asserted that the state does not interfere in the internal life of the Church, although jurisdictional affiliation has a major impact on the internal life of a Church. Philaret has even explained how the state’s new laws on the renaming of the Ukrainian Church and the reregistering of individual communities can be used to take the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras away from the canonical Church.
Since the creation of the schismatic church in December, local Ukrainian authorities have been holding meetings in various communities that vote to move the local canonical parish into the schismatic church, sometimes successfully, successfully not.
“If in Soviet times the Church was completely dependent on the state, now we have complete freedom,” Philaret asserted.
It was recently revealed that Ukrainian President Poroshenko promised various Church properties to the Patriarchate of Constantinople in exchange for the tomos of autocephaly.
“Of course, the state stands on the side of the Church that supports it. It’s on the side not only of the Orthodox Church, but on the side of the Greek Catholic church, the Roman Catholic church, and the Muslims, and the Jews. It is on the side of all those who support the state and against those who act against the state,” Philaret said.
In the minds of the schismatic-nationalists, the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church is just a Russian fifth column, despite all evidence to the contrary. Poroshenko and the schismatics publicly repeat the lie that the canonical Church prays for President Putin and the Russian army in the Divine services.
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