Kiev, February 21, 2023
President Biden took an overnight 10-hour train ride from Poland to make a surprise visit to Kiev yesterday.
In the Ukrainian capital for just five hours, the U.S. head of state made sure to include a visit to the schismatics of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
According to the OCU press service, Presidents Biden and Zelensky visited the famous St. Michael’s Monastery in Kiev, where they were greeted by “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko.
The schismatic primate thanked Biden for his and America’s support to Ukraine in the war against Russia, while Biden recalled a previous visit to Kiev and meeting Dumenko in Washington in September 2018.
At that time, Dumenko was accompanying his mentor and father in the faith, “Patriarch” Philaret Denisenko, the head of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate.” Biden met with Denisenko, assuring him of his support for the creation of an autocephalous church in Ukraine.
The OCU was created just a few months later, and both politicians and schismatic hierarchs have openly admitted the role of the U.S. government in the whole affair. It’s also known that President Biden has pressured the primates of Local Churches to recognize the schismatic OCU.
In December 2018, “Metropolitan” Makary Maletich, the head of the former “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” which joined the OCU in December 2018, said that the provision of autocephaly to the OCU by Constantinople was possible because of the work of foreign diplomats, including U.S. ambassadors and others.
He addressed the issue again the following June, stating: “It’s not only the merit of Poroshenko, 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.”
Maletich is certain “that if the Ecumenical Patriarch had not seen the support in the leading states of the world, he wouldn’t have done this. Then neither Poroshenko, nor the Rada, nor Philaret, nor I would have done anything.”
In January 2021, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted about the U.S.’s work in getting Orthodox Churches to recognize the schismatics.
That May, Valeriy Chaly, the Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S. from 2015 to 2019, said the U.S. can consider the creation of the OCU its own achievement. He stated on air:
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.
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.