Ukrainian veterans asked Poroshenko and Patriarch Bartholomew not to encroach on the UOC

CC BY-SA 4.0 / administration of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Archival photoUkrainian veterans asked Poroshenko and Patriarch Bartholomew not to encroach on the UOCCC BY-SA 4.0 / administration of the President of Ukraine /

«Organization of veterans of Ukraine» has sent an open letter to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Andrei Parubiy, in which he expressed the support of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and opposed the creation of parallel religious organizations of the dissenters.

According to the authors of the appeal, which publishes information and educational Department of UOC-MP, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is «completely self-sufficient, independent and sovereign Church.»

«Obvious and outrageous for us is an attempt to finally destroy the Church, made her and her laymen exiles in their own land by creating a parallel religious organizations, the so-called Local Church. Quantitatively and qualitatively throughout the history of the national independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has proved to be a self-sufficient and a Church of the Ukrainian people in the arena of world Orthodoxy. Attempts somehow to undermine its spiritual authority from the outside by means of the granting of autocephaly some other community consider unfair, unjustified and baseless», — said in a statement.

The veterans also drew attention to the actions of the media are creating a very dangerous confrontation in the Ukrainian society on religious grounds, constantly pushing the various far-fetched accusations against the canonical Church and accusing its supporters «unpatriotic, destructiveness and hostility». «We believe that the atmosphere of distrust, neglect, between religious faiths, which incited some media and government officials, may lead to confrontation between millions of the laity, and it does not benefit Ukraine,» the statement says.

«In this regard, we Express our support for the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by the Primate, his Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry. Declare in own responsibility, that the years of experience of cooperation between our organizations of veterans with a history of over 30 years, with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church indicates the opposite characteristics of this religious group than the one served in media,» the statement reads.

The authors of the appeal ask the country’s leadership and the Patriarch of Constantinople «to listen to the voice of hundreds of thousands of veterans of war and labor,» pay attention to «high spiritual authority and fruitful Ministry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and to prevent infringement of its canonical status.»

«Organization of veterans of Ukraine» is the Ukrainian public organization of veterans of the great Patriotic war, other wars and military conflicts, veterans of work, military service and internal Affairs bodies. The appeal was signed by veterans of Dnipropetrovsk, Lviv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Khmelnytsky, Zaporizhia, Chernihiv, Kirovohrad, Volyn, Mykolaiv and other oblasts of Ukraine and Kyiv city.

In Ukraine today there are canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), which is a self-governing Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, and unrecognized by the world Orthodox Church structures — «Kyivan Patriarchate» and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. UOC has repeatedly reported on cases of harassment of priests and seizures of Orthodox churches.

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko is trying to achieve recognition of non-canonical religious structures and creation on their basis one local Autocephalous Church in Ukraine, outside the framework of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The Patriarchate of Constantinople had previously reported that «in preparation for the granting of autocephaly» was appointed its Exarch in Kyiv, they were Pamphylian Archbishop Daniel and Bishop Hilarion of Edmonton Canada. This decision strongly condemned the Orthodox Church, calling it an intrusion on the canonical territory of other local churches.