Poroshenko again raises question of autocephaly of Church in Ukraine

Kiev, September 6, 2016

 

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has stated that the
creation of one local autocephalous Ukrainian Church in
the country will not restrict the freedoms of the faithful
and will not change the principles of interaction between
the authorities and religious organizations, reports
RIA-Novosti.

Earlier the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s Parliament)
appealed to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople with a
request to recognize the independency of the Ukrainian
Church from the Patriarchate of Moscow. The close circles
of the Patriarch of Constantinople then said that it would
not be possible without the official consent of the
Patriarchate of Moscow. An influential cleric of the
Patriarchate of Constantinople, Priest Alexandros
Karloutsos, characterized the deputies’ appeal as
“an impertinent step.”

“According to opinion polls, the majority of
Orthodox Ukrainian citizens want to have one local
autocephalous Ukrainian Church. At the same time, I would
like to assure that autocephaly by no means presupposes
the formation of a sort of a state Church. No slightest
detail will be changed in the constitutional principles of
cooperation between the state and religious organizations.
Freedom of conscience will not be restricted for anyone in
any way; every single Ukrainian citizen has and will have
the right to believe in God in his own way and to attend
his own church,” P. Poroshenko said on Tuesday in
his address to the Ukrainian Parliament during the opening
of the fifth session of the Verkhovna Rada.

To date the following Orthodox religious organizations are
active in Ukraine: the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church
of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) which is a
self-governed Church within the Patriarchate of Moscow,
along with two Church structures which are unrecognized by
the Orthodox world – the so-called “Kyiv
Patriarchate” and the “Ukrainian Autocephalous
Orthodox Church.”

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