Photo from UNIAN

Former priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) Ihor Savva has said the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has always been keen on propaganda.

The Kyiv Patriarchate has been constantly called "schismatics," thus creating a feeling that it is forbidden to even look in their direction, not to say visit them or communicate, the priest told Ukrayinska Pravda.

"I've recently began to get to know the Kyiv Patriarchate, and it turned out there were exactly the same people there, the same believers, priests, as well as in the UOC-MP," he said.

Read alsoRussian clerics pursue attempts to hinder Ukraine's path toward independent church – OSINT group

"You know, this has always been like that. For me personally and for people who came with me to our church, it all seemed not as some political or civil confrontation, but rather as a struggle for truth. From the very beginning, they've been programming us that there was only one true church, and that is the one in Russia," he said.

"Only over time, have I and other priests begun to figure out that this confrontation is artificial and that it has nothing to do with any spiritual matters," said the priest.

When asked whether pro-Russian propaganda in the UOC-MP expanded after the Maidan and the beginning of war, the priest said: "There was such a peculiar type of language – it's hard for me to describe it... I was growing up in the times of the Soviet Union, and I remember this state of mind when the world around you seems to consist of two parts – in your mind, you think one thing, but you're forced to show other people something else. Or it's like being one type of man while you're at home and another person while in public. It's a kind of schizophrenia," Savva said.

"Something like that had been happening in the [Moscow Patriarchate] church and became even worse in 2014. A special language has been developed for the sermons, the nature of conversations between the bishop and the priests has changed. He [the bishop] would speak so skillfully that no one could argue, but everyone understood what he was talking about. This is hypocrisy perfected to art," he said.