The fact that the ministry of culture sent its warning only to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, not to other churches involved in religious services on Maidan square, clearly indicates that the regime is out to split up Ukraine believers into “ours” (Orthodox) and Banderites (Greek Catholics), writer Andry Okara says in his blog on Ukrayinska Pravda Jan. 14.
However, it is stupid to frighten with courts and property seizures the 5-million UGCC with 40 years of catacomb experience under the Soviet regime, A. Okara writes.
The church plays a different role for Western and Eastern Ukrainians. While in Eastern Ukraine, the tsar and later the Bolsheviks destroyed strong religious feelings, in Western Ukraine the church remained an instrument of consolidation and survival.
Meanwhile, in Russia, Belarus and Eastern Ukraine the church has been viewed as a stalwart for the state, no matter what kind of the state existed.
“UGCC priests on Maidan actually blessed the protesters to stand firm against the oppressive regime. In Russia, the situation is different: the church unconditionally supports Kremlin and Putin in all their actions,” A. Okara says.
By backing Ukrainians in their peaceful protests the UGCC promotes the emergence of a new societal pattern in which the church acts as a hub for popular aspirations.