MOSCOW, November 24. /TASS/. The Ukrainian authorities’ actions towards representatives of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, churches and monasteries are leading to greater confrontation inside the country, Spokesman for Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Priest Alexander Volkov told TASS on Saturday.
"Unfortunately, the Ukrainian authorities continue the policy of oppressing the canonical church - the summons of the episcopate and the clergy to the SBU [the Ukrainian Security Service], legal decisions aimed at depriving churches of property. The authorities are acting under the worst scenario, setting citizens and believers of the Ukrainian church against it and all these oppressions will lead to the increase of confrontation in Ukrainian society," the spokesman said.
Ukraine’s Justice Ministry made a decision on Friday to cancel the transfer of the compound of buildings of the Holy Dormition Pochayev Laura (Monastery) to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church for use. As Ukrainian First Deputy Justice Minister Yelena Sukmanova alleged, the state registration of the right to use the compound of buildings of the Holy Dormition Pochayev Laura - the Dormition Cathedral, the Trinity Cathedral, monastic cells, the church house, the belfry and other structures was carried out with violations of the existing legislation.
Church crisis in Ukraine
The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided at its meeting held on October 9-11 to proceed with granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church. It revoked the 1686 decision on transferring the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate and announced plans to bring it back under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It also reinstated the heads of two non-canonical churches in Ukraine, Filaret of the Kiev Patriarchate and Makariy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, to their hierarchical and priestly ranks.
On October 15, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in response to that move that full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople was no longer possible.
On November 3, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople signed a cooperation agreement on creating an independent Ukrainian Church. The ceremony was held in the patriarch’s residence in Istanbul.