Kiev, May 10, 2021
The United States considers the creation of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) as its own achievement, acknowledges the former Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S.
Although the U.S.’s central role has been openly acknowledged several times, including by hierarchs of the schismatic OCU and American diplomats, the enemies of Orthodoxy in Ukraine continue to deny it, attempting to color such information as “Russian propaganda,” even when it comes from the mouths of Ukrainians who despise Russia and the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Valeriy Chaly was the Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. from 2015 to 2019, during the period that Patriarch Bartholomew and the Ukrainian and American governments invaded Ukrainian Church territory and created the OCU. He openly spoke about the U.S.’s role in creating the OCU on Ukrainian television last week.
“For the American side—by the way, this might not be known in the President’s Office—the key foreign policy topic has been freedom of religion recently. And the issue of an autonomous Church was promoted by Ukraine with the support of our partners,” Chaly said on air on Pryamiy, reports the channel’s website.
America’s intervention was not something the diplomat could speak about publicly before.
“The United States did—I can say this now—a great deal to make this issue a reality for Ukraine. This is a huge achievement that they consider their own as well. Maybe it’s exaggerated, but there are such sentiments,” Chaly said.
In January, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also openly acknowledged that the U.S. actively pressures Orthodox Churches to recognize the OCU. “Took action on lots of fronts with Russia,” Pompeo Tweeted, “including religious freedom. I made sure the U.S. supported international recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, helped the Metropolitan escape Russian influence. #FirstFreedoms.”
In June 2019, Makary Maletich, who headed the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” one of the two groups that were dissolved into the new OCU, acknowledged that Pat. Bartholomew acted in Ukraine because he knew he had the backing of the U.S. and other Western powers.
“It is not only the merit of Poroshenko,” he said, “but also the Verkhovna Rada, Ukrainians themselves, and the diplomats of the U.S.A., Great Britain, France, and Germany, who were interested in the church… If the Ecumenical Patriarch hadn’t seen the support in the leading states of the world, he wouldn’t have done this.”
However, Pat. Bartholomew has repeatedly denied that politics played any part in his invasion of Ukrainian Church territory, although a number of Orthodox hierarchs have publicly spoken about America’s role.
There is no real hope of the situation improving under President Biden, who is known to have pressured the Jerusalem Patriarch to recognize the schismatics and touts himself as a great ally of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Biden’s own Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, was in Kiev last week, where he met with Epiphany Dumenko, the fake metropolitan who heads the schismatic OCU. He is the only religious leader with whom the Secretary met.
According to the OCU’s press release, the two discussed “the importance of removing artificial obstacles in the free determination of communities’ affiliation on the basis of the principles of freedom of conscience,” meaning they discussed the “transfer” of parishes from the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the schismatic OCU, which in reality occurs by the illegal and violent seizure of churches.
Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople has never commented on the violence perpetrated against bishops, clerics, monastics, elderly women, and faithful men by his partners in the OCU.