MOSCOW, May 29. /TASS/. Efforts to discredit the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate have been futile, Patriarch Kirill, of Moscow and All Russia, said in a statement published on the official Instagram account of the Russian Orthodox Church on Wednesday.
"Neither the power of the state, nor propaganda have worked. Millions of dollars were spent in vain. Time was wasted. But everything has turned into dust," Patriarch Kirill said.
He described the project for giving autocephaly to the schismatic Orthodox Church in Ukraine, led by Metropolitan Epiphany as an "unheard-of test for faithfulness to Orthodoxy," experienced by the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
"It might seem that all infernal forces were employed in an attempt to tear Ukraine away from the Moscow Patriarchate, to discredit our Church, to support the splitters and all those who throughout history repeatedly challenged the unity of Orthodoxy. Nothing has come of it," Patriarch Kirill said.
Church crisis in Ukraine
The Ukrainian leadership from the very moment power in Kiev changed hands in 2014 kept pressing for the creation of a local Orthodox Church in Ukraine not connected with the canonical Moscow Patriarchate. In April last year, the then President Pyotr Poroshenko addressed the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople with a personal request for grating autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church. The message was supported by the Ukrainian parliament.
On December 15, representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ukrainian authorities held a so-called unification council where two schismatic organizations - the Kiev Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church - declared the establishment of a so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU). On January 6, the Ecumenical Patriarch handed a Tomos of Autocephaly to the head of the OCU, Metropolitan Epiphany.
The Russian Orthodox Church regards both the Tomos of Autocephaly and the "unification council" in Kiev as canonically void. In October 2018, the Moscow Patriarchate severed Eucharistic communion with Constantinople. The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church followed suit.