Moscow Patriarch Kiril says to give autonomy to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, UOC, would be premature and would split Ukraine. Kiril was addressing the Orthodox clergy and intellectuals at the Kyiv Lavra monastery July 29.
“We have to unite around a common idea. Autonomy is not a common idea today,” Kiril said.
The idea of the autonomy has been overly politicized, and is not shared by all Ukraine Orthodox. All the radical demands for the autonomy are based on political arguments only, he added.
Kiril desribed as naпve the demand for the autonomy expressed by some Ukrainians.
“The issue of the autonomy divides Ukrainians because many still are not aware of the importance of a single Russian church in Ukraine and worldwide,” Kiril maintained.
That the idea of the UOC autonomy is not shared by all cannot be explained by imperial intrigues of Moscow, as the media claim. It is rooted in our history as Kyiv is the only capital of the Russian Orthodoxy, Kiril argued.
Kiril described as improper the arguments that, since the Czech and Albanians have autonomous churches, Ukraine should also have the one, saying again that Kyiv is “our Jerusalem and our Constantinople, the core of our life.”
In the Moscow patriarch’s opinion, the UOC (Moscow patriarchate) is an autonomous church. “The church has its Synod that runs the church without any interference from Moscow.”
“When the Moscow patriarch takes care not merely of the Russian Federation [but also about other Russian Orthodox churches in other areas – Ed.], it reflects our tradition. Some may not like it, but this is our tradition,” Kiril claimed.
“Any violation of traditions is rife with problems and causes a split,” Kiril added. [Kiril quoting the slogans he saw in Kyiv] “Sovereign church to sovereign Ukraine!” “Why should we take orders from patriarch in Moscow?” “These slogans have been put up by those who invited to Ukraine the Constantinople patriarch. Why can’t the Moscow patriarch do the same?”
He also said that if Ukraine Greek Catholic Church recognized the supremacy of the Pope, Ukraine Orthodox can do the same with regard to Moscow.