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3 October, 2013 13:13   ▪  

Paul Goble: Ukrainian branch of Moscow Patriarchate backs Kyiv’s European course

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate backs Ukraine’s decision to pursue closer ties with the European Union, writes expert for the Window on Eurasia

On Monday, Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, Metropolitan Vladimir of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, and Supreme Archbishop Svyatoslav of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, along with other Ukrainian religious leaders, issued an appeal to the Ukrainian people supporting Ukraine’s European choice

“….Ukraine stands before a choice of its further development. In our opinion,” the Ukrainian churchmen say, “the future of Ukraine as naturally conditioned by our historical roots is to be an independent state among the free European peoples.”

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Moscow patriarchate usually treats its Ukrainian attempts to integrate into European community as a threath to the ’Holy Rus’ (re-unification of Russia and its Slavic neighbors) and Ukrainian-Russian relations. This has been probed repeatedly.

Therefore the depth of Ukraine’s commitment to Europe is threated as anger at Moscow and its church for their opposition. As such, it constitutes at a minimum a stinging rebuke to Patriarch Kirill and his support for the idea of the continuing relevance of “’Holy Rus’” and calls into question his role as a co-author and executor of Vladimir Putin’s push to draw the former Soviet republics into a tighter union with Moscow.

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Today, the Russian Orthodox Church has become” the chief arbiter and defender of “’Russianness’ as a chauvinist ideology,” something that inevitably offends others. 

Although all the Ukrainian churchmen have signed the appeal, impendence remains that pro-russian branch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate will backs Ukraine’s decision to pursue closer ties with the European Union. This is yet another indication of how deep Ukraine’s commitment to Europe is and how Patriarch Kirill is alienating Orthodox leaders outside of the Russian Federation, Paul Goble writes.

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