Interior Minister meets with main Orthodox clerics
Interior Minister Dionysius Monastyrsky met with the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Epiphanes, and the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Onufriy.
This is according to the press service of the ministry, reports Ukrinform.
During the meeting with the leaders of the two largest Orthodox denominations in Ukraine, the minister discussed the issue of constructive relations between church and government, as well as the need to ensure interfaith peace, law and order.
Separately, the parties discussed in detail the security measures during the mass processions held on July 27 and 28, marking the national holiday, the day of the baptism of Kyivan Rus-Ukraine.
Monastyrsky assured church leaders that law enforcement is ready to resolutely counter all possible provocative acts during festive events, including in and around temples and other places of worship.
The minister called on the OCU and UOC leaders to remain balanced and take special responsibility during mass events, expressing the hope for cooperation in this regard and future constructive dialogue.
According to Ukrinform, on July 27, the National Guard and the police stepped up security measures in central Kiev due to the holding of mass events dedicated to the 1033rd anniversary of the baptism of Kyivan Rus-Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church received in January 2019 from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople a tomos of autocephaly, thus completing the process of independence of the Ukrainian Church from the Russian Orthodox Church which traditionally regards Ukraine as forming part of its own canonical territory.
On December 15, 2018, the Unification Church Council was held in Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev. The clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate have established a United Local Orthodox Church of Ukraine, approved its charter and elected its Primate, Metropolitan Epiphanes of Kiev and All Ukraine.
The procedure for granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church ended on January 6, 2019, when the Patriarchal Church of St. George hosted the presentation of the autocephaly tomos and the divine liturgy was co-chaired by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epiphanes of Kiev and All of Ukraine.
Subsequently, Onufriy, the head of the religious organization, who participated in the unification council, reneged on his commitments to recognize the newly created independent church alongside Russian clerics who accused Patriarch Bartholomew of abusing of power and to create a schism among the Ukrainian faithful.
The process of recognition of the OCU by other local Orthodox churches around the world is ongoing, as Russian clergy have vigorously opposed the developments and rallied affiliated churches to hamper them.
The Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine has also spoken out against the government’s decision to force the name change of religious organizations to reveal in their official title the real centers of decision, which would imply that the UOC of Onufriy is would title “Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine”.