3 August, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile






mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 03/17/2014
RUSSIA - UKRAINE
After the referendum, the Ukrainian Church-Kyiv Patriarchate fears ban in Crimea
by Nina Achmatova
As Patriarch Filaret is praying for Ukraine's "liberation from the occupiers," Moscow Orthodox fear expulsion from the Ukraine. Whilst recognising Ukraine's right to self-determination, the Moscow Patriarchate remains under Putin's influence. Crimea's invasion resembles Nazi Germany's Anschluss of Austria.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - As expected, yesterday's referendum in the Crimea confirmed the majority's desire to join the Russian Federation. Although the annexation requires Moscow's formal approval, Crimea's "return" to Russia and Ukraine's domestic crisis are raising concerns among the leaders of the Orthodox Church.

In yesterday's liturgical service, Patriarch Filaret, the 84-year-old head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate (pictured), called on the faithful to pray for the region's "liberation from the occupiers," reference to the Russian forces that have been in control of the Crimea for weeks and which many fear might take over the country's eastern regions.

Before the Mass, the patriarch warned of the possible ban of the Kyiv Patriarchate Church in Crimea. "We have information," Filaret said at a press conference, "that after the so-called referendum and the declaration of the Crimea as Russian territory, the Orthodox Eparchy of the Moscow Patriarchate will be placed under the direct control of the Patriarch of Moscow".

In Ukraine, Orthodox Christians are divided between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate (not recognised by other churches and opposed by Moscow), the Ukrainian Orthodox-Moscow Patriarchate (the only one that is recognised and with the largest following) and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.

If the Ukrainian Church-Moscow Patriarchate is absorbed directly by the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate, "We expect the Ukrainian Church-Kyiv Patriarchate to be completely banned in the Crimea," said Filaret. The latter has 30 parishes on the peninsula.

As he spoke about the difficult situation faced by many of his followers, the religious leader said that some Ukrainian Orthodox have even been abducted or illegally detained only for expressing their opposition to secession.

Speaking to AsiaNews, sources close to the Moscow Patriarchate share Filaret's fears, but also warn of the danger that the Orthodox Church linked to Moscow Patriarchate could disappear in Kyiv and western Ukraine and that a rift might develop within the Russian Orthodox Church itself.

By contrast, Patriarch Kirill acknowledged that Ukraine has the right to self-determination, but also called for prayers "that brothers of one faith and one blood never bring destruction to one another" and that the former Soviet republic (Ukraine) never separate spiritually from Russia.

In the Russia Federation, Orthodoxy has become central to state policies after decades of persecution under the Soviet regime, but the escalation of tension with Ukraine has brought to the fire certain problems within the Church itself, like its failure to condemn totalitarianism.

For the Washington Post, protests in Independence (Maidan) were "a galvanizing religious awakening," and "apart from being a political and social phenomenon, [. . .] it was also an ecumenical phenomenon". All of Ukraine's churches, including the Catholic Church, were united in defending people and condemning violence.

According to Andrei Zubov, a leading expert in Church-State relations who teaches at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), if war comes, the division between the Churches of Moscow and Kyiv will be inevitable.

Zubov, who almost lost his job in early March for an article in which he compared Putin's moves in the Crimea to Nazi Germany Anschluss (annexation) of Austria in 1938, said, "Putin has started an uncontrollable process".

If relations between Russia and Ukraine continue to deteriorate, he added, the Patriarchate of Constantinople is likely to recognise eventually a Ukrainian Church, and a united Ukrainian Church could redraw the map of Orthodoxy.

With a population of 44.3 million people, 80 per cent of whom are Christian Orthodox, Ukraine is the second largest Orthodox nation in the world after Russia.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
03/06/2014 UKRAINE - RUSSIA
Crimea's Parliament asks to Join Russia
03/19/2014 RUSSIA - UKRAINE
As Crimea becomes Russian amid violence and hatred
by Nina Achmatova
03/04/2014 RUSSIA - UKRAINE
As Putin stops exercises on Ukraine border, Yanukovych asks him to invade the country
09/12/2014 RUSSIA - UKRAINE
Greek Catholic Church blames Russia for Ukraine bloodshed
by Nina Achmatova
03/03/2014 UKRAINE - RUSSIA
As Russian soldiers are deployed to counter "ultra-nationalist" threats, contact group gives some hope

Editor's choices
CHINA
Unofficial catholic community of Wenzhou speak out against forced demolition of Crosses, whole diocese fasting
by Joseph YuanAfter 90-year-old Bishop Vincent Zhu Weifang of Wenzhou led 26 priests of the open Church community to protest against the government’s act to demolish Crosses, Coadjutor Bishop James Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou also led his priests to issue an open statement “Strongly demand a halt to demolish Crosses on all churches.
CHINA
Wenzhou: 90-year-old bishop and 26 priests protest against cross demolitions
by Joseph YuanThis is not the first time that the old bishop and his priests speak out against the demolition campaign against crosses and churches, which has touched more than 400 buildings. During the protest, police tried to disperse the group, which sought to submit a petition. The faithful recite a Crown of the Divine Mercy is in support of the Chinese Church. In Lishui, churches are expected to be torn down by 31 August.
ISRAEL - IRAN
After nuclear deal, Israel ought to become Iran’s best ally
by Uri AvneryThis is the thesis of Uri Avnery, leader of Gush Shalom, a major supporter of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. According to the great statesman and peace activist, Iran only wants to be a regional power in the Islamic world, able to trade with everyone, inspired by a sophisticated experience that goes back thousands of years. Iran, which faces backward-looking Gulf monarchies and emirates, could be a great ally against Daesh. Meanwhile in Israel Netanyahu, politicians and the media continue to blunder.

Dossier

Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.