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Russian Orthodox Church uncertain over Poroshenko’s religious affiliation

September 30, 6:44 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"The church that he belongs to is his private matter, but creating a church or changing the canonic way of how a church is organized is not," a Moscow Patriarchate official said

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Pyotr Poroshenko

Pyotr Poroshenko

© EPA/TATYANA ZENKOVICH

MOSCOW, September 30. /TASS/. The Russian Orthodox Church is puzzled by religious affiliation of Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko, because he has taken part in services of both the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, said metropolitan Hilarion, the chief of Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external Church relations.

"We have photographs showing President Pyotr Poroshenko taking part in a religious ceremony before he assumed the presidential post. He is wearing a sticharion and the service is held in a church of the canonic Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in the Monastery of St. Jonas. However, there is another photograph, where Poroshenko, who already assumed the presidential post, receives Holy Communion from a Greek Catholic archbishop. That’s why we have no idea of his religious affiliation, of whether he is an Orthodox or a Greek Catholic believer," metropolitan Hilarion said in the Church and World broadcast of the Rossiya-24 TV channel.

"The church that he belongs to is his private matter, but creating a church or changing the canonic way of how a church is organized is not," he went on.

Ukrainian authorities have been striving to set up a national Orthodox Church disconnected from Moscow Patriarchate since the former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic declared itself independent from the USSR in 1991.

On September 7, 2018, the Ecumenical Patriarchate appointed two exarchs to Ukraine as part of preparations for granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church. The Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church expressed resolute protest over and profound indignation over the move.

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