Editor’s Note: The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is currently subordinated to the Russian Church in the Orthodox hierarchy, but it appears to be approaching independence. The Orthodox Christians’ top entity, the Constantinople Patriarchate appointed its official representatives in Ukraine recently and is rumored to be preparing to give Ukraine’s church an independent status. Since spring, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko focused his efforts on getting the independent status for the church, which many viewed as an attempt to prop up his approval ratings in the run-up to the March 2019 presidential election. The Kyiv Post asked people in Kyiv what they think about the Ukrainian church getting independence from Russia.
It’s important for the country. Three years before the war, the Moscow Patriarch (Kirill) Gundyaev toured around Ukraine giving political speeches. Some conscious people, especially in Western Ukraine, knew what kind of abominations he preached. And I think, it’s good that the President (Petro Poroshenko) joined this fight for autonomy.
I’m a Roman Catholic and, as such, I take a neutral stand. But I think the church should be independent because our state and our people are independent. Why should we be dependent (on Russia)? And in fact, the historical justice suggests that the Kyiv Metropolis always belonged to Ecumenical Patriarchate (of Constantinople), not the Moscow one.
If the church in Ukraine is Russian, then the money brought by the parishioners go to Russia and may support its aggression. In that case, of course, we should renounce it and have one of our own. The President can raise these questions because if there are such disputes inside the country, the state should deal with them.
It’s a schism inside the church, and that’s why I am strongly against it. The orthodox world should be as one. It’s the influence of the United States that pursues its geopolitical goals. They promote the split, aggravate the split. Ukrainian and Russian people will have to pick up the pieces in the end.
It’s not the matter for the secular authorities. It’s the matter for the patriarchs, and they have to decide among themselves. I go to the Church of the Moscow Patriarchate as my ancestors did. At every Sunday service, the priest and the able parishioners read a prayer for peace and the end of the fratricidal war (in Donbas). I listen to what the clergy says, and I don’t feel any influence on them by some Russian hierarchs.
Independence is very important. I support it as a parishioner of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate. Let them do it for God’s sake. And if it’s possible, the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches should also unite – it’s better to be united. I don’t know how much the President can intervene in these things, but I believe this goal justifies the means.