Patriarch Filaret: No Ukraine if church dependent on Moscow
Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine, Patriarch Filaret, said there would be no Ukraine if the church was dependent upon Moscow, according to a UNIAN correspondent.
"If the church is dependent on Moscow, Ukraine will cease to exist, and Putin is well aware of it. Therefore, he pins his hopes primarily on his church, the Russian church in Ukraine, in helping him to conquer Ukraine. The same slavery again," Filaret noted.
He also said that the prayer for peace, in itself, is a good idea, but he added that it should be a prayer for peace only when people are free.
"They say: let us pray for peace. That's right, we should pray for peace. But what kind of peace? For peace in captivity, for peace in bondage? We do not want such peace. We'd better sacrifice our lives for freedom and independence," Filaret added.
The All-Ukrainian religious procession for peace, love and prayer for Ukraine, which was organized by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate – an affiliate of the Russian Orthodox Church and a rival of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, moved from two directions to Kyiv. The eastern column of marchers set out from the Sviatohirsk Lavra monastery in Donetsk region on July 3, while the western column began their march from the Pochayivska Lavra monastery in Ternopil region on July 9. Both met in Kyiv on July 27, and held a night prayer service in Kyiv's Kyivska-Pecherska Lavra monastery. According to different estimates, from 10,000 to 80,000 church members participated in the march.
Read alsoNumber of Kyiv Patriarchate's Orthodox Church members grows by 14.5% in six yearsThe Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and other canonical Eastern Orthodox churches do not recognize the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, blaming it for the schism that occurred after Ukraine gained its independence in 1991.
However, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate is increasingly popular in Ukraine, with more churches of the Moscow Patriarchate joining it, especially after the Russian annexation of Crimea and the aggression in Donbas, as the Moscow Patriarchate is now seen as a propagandist for Russia.
Filaret is leading the drive for his church to become a single local Ukrainian church, and is seeking canonical recognition.