Pres Viktor Yanukovych should apologize for ignoring Greek Catholics in his Christmas address to believers, Front Zmin [Front of Change] leader Arseny Yatseniuk Jan. 10 website release runs.
The present regime continues to balkanize Ukraine. “The fact that the head of state congratulated only Orthodox believers on the occasion of Christmas can be viewed as yet another attempt to drive a wedge among Ukrainian believers. It is a slap in the face of millions of other Christians who also celebrate Christmas on Jan. 6, pay taxes to support the regime and, incidentally, pray for its success,” Yatseniuk said.
Yatseniuk recalled that all Ukrainian presidents, out of respect to all the country’s believers, visited churches of all major confessions on Christmas eve. The incumbent, despite his being in Western Ukraine for Christmas where Greek Catholics predominate, did not visit a Greek Catholic church. Nor did he congratulate them,” Yatseniuk said.
The leader of Front Zmin said the uninterrupted attempts of the regime to favor the Ukrainian Orthodox Church affiliated to Moscow is not merely unconstitutional but also absolutely destructive policy. “None of the Ukrainian confessions unites more than a third of believers, and all are in the minority in some regions. If the present leaders of Ukraine are willing to live in this country, they must become aware of the deadly risks of putting up one confession against others,” Arseny Yatseniuk stressed.
Yatseniuk also reminded the incumbent that, under the Constitution, he must speak on behalf of all Ukrainians. This duty of a head of state excludes any demonstration of affiliation with any particular church as it can be viewed as disrespect to other confessions, Yatseniuk went on.
“The president must apologize to those whom he humiliated in his Christmas address. He must give up using religious and national holidays as tools to divide the Ukrainians,” the politician noted.
“I would advise the president to stop waving off the numerous proposals by members of the Ukrainian Council of Churches to hold a meeting. This will allow the president to become aware of the existing religious and social problems as presented by priests representing 95% of all Ukraine believers – instead of relying on advice emanating from foreign church leaders [reference to Moscow Patriarch Kiril],” Arseny Yatseniuk concluded.