MOSCOW, December 4. /TASS/. Officials of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church reporting to Moscow Patriarchate hope that the self-proclaimed dissenting Kiev Patriarchate will give up new seizures of church buildings and will stay away from other acts of aggression, Archbishop Kliment, the head of the canonical Church’s information department told TASS on Monday.
"Former Metropolitan [of the Russian Orthodox Church] Filaret [Denisneko] used the words ‘Forgive me, fathers and brothers’ in a letter to the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia and the Council of Archbishops of the Russian Orthodox Church," Archbishop Kliment said. "We’d like to think they’re really meaningful and their meaningfulness could help clean up all the aggression the so-called Kiev Patriarchate is showing towards the canonical Church."
"Let us wait and see how these words will correlate with subsequent steps," he added. "Resolute renunciation of violence and seizures of church compounds, renunciation of mutual accusations and rebukes, reciprocal absolution of old reproofs are the remedial means of self-sacrifice and love in Jesus Christ that open up the only possible pathway to the restoration of unity of the canonical Church in Ukraine."
Ukraine has one canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which reports to Moscow Patriarchate and enjoys a very broad autonomy within the general structure of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Alongside with it, the country has two organizations unrecognized by the Eastern Orthodox Christian World - the Ukrainian Orthodox Church reporting to the so-called Kiev Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
Since the proclamation of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the Ukrainian authorities have been trying hard to create a local [national] Church that would be independent of the Moscow Patriarchate and President Viktor Yushchenko went as far in 2008 as to seek support from Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and the Universe, who is viewed historically as the supreme Eastern Orthodox hierarch in the world.
His Beatitude Bartholomew did not give a blessing to Yushchenko for canonical division of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Kiev Patriarchate that does not have recognition of the canonical Orthodox Churches worldwide is conducting an extremely aggressive policy towards the parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church reporting to Moscow Patriarchate, with the seizures of church buildings taking on a systemic character. Over the past two years the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has lost forty churches that have now gone over to Kiev Patriarchate.