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    » 07/27/2010, 00.00

    RUSSIA - UKRAINE

    Arrests and bans during Patriarch Kirill's visit to Ukraine

    Nina Achmatova

    Eight people were arrested. anti-Kirill and anti-Russia slogans. Putin in Ukraine. The Patriarch of Moscow seeks a "third path" to unify the Orthodox and safeguard the country, but "without nationalism".

    Moscow (AsiaNews) - "Down with the Moscow pope", is the slogan repeated by nationalist demonstrators every time the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia visits Ukraine. In fact it was brandished again today in Kiev, where Patriarch Kirill is on an official visit and were he opened the Synod of the Russian-Orthodox Church. Eight people were arrested for demonstrating against the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. In Dnipropetrovsk, however, the authorities have even banned any kind of street protests against Kirill, on this his third trip to the country since being elected in 2009.

    In the Patriarch’s attempts to unify the various Orthodox Churches in Ukraine, bringing them back under the spiritual leadership of Moscow, the nationalists glimpse the political objective of the Kremlin to reassert its influence on the former satellite republic. In Russia the "tour of Ukraine" by Kirill is being closely followed by TV and newspapers, as if it were a state visit. In fact at the very same time, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.

    After the fall of the USSR in 1991, the Orthodox Church in Ukraine underwent a schism, with some bishops declaring their independence from Moscow. So far, the Russian Patriarchate has been able to avert their recognition by the global Orthodox hierarchy. In Ukraine, 80 percent of the 46 million inhabitants are Orthodox Christian, with a third referring to the Moscow Patriarchate.

    Beyond the controversy, Kirill’s visit confirms that the unity of the Eastern Orthodox Church is one of his key objectives. During trip which touched several cities, the Patriarch made the most significant statement on the issue to date in the city of Odessa, tracing what the Russian media have called his "third path".

    In the city home to the Kremlin’s Black Sea fleet, where the majority of the population is Russian and relations with the Ukrainian minority are always tense, Kirill spoke for the first time against nationalism as a "dangerous instrument for building societies" which instead, end up living under the "continuing threat of violence." The alternative to a fanaticism of boundaries, race and ethnicity is "a Western-style multicultural society, but based on a solid structure." "Even in the most multi-ethnic societies like the U.S. – he said - there is always a dominant culture, in this particular case the Anglo-Saxon culture: for Russia and Ukraine it is the Orthodox culture." And the Patriarch has also listed its core values: "Goodness, the absence of ill will, the spirit of sacrifice and willingness to help others." The "third path" is realized, then, in a society whose members live according to the "divine law of love."
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    See also

    23/02/2015 UKRAINE - RUSSIA
    For Ukrainian Church, even the pope calls the conflict a civil war, something Kyiv does not acknowledge
    The head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church press service appreciates the "shared position" with the Church of Rome on the conflict in eastern Ukraine. He attacks the government, wondering whether it will now accuse the pope of being a subversive and ban him from the country.

    21/03/2014 RUSSIA - UKRAINE
    Crimea annexation frightens Patriarch of Moscow
    Kirill not present for Putin's great speech to the Duma. While Russia follows in the footsteps of the empire of Ivan the Terrible, the Orthodox Churches of Ukraine are pushed towards autonomy by Moscow. The Moscow Patriarchate risks being a minority in the next pan-Orthodox Council.

    05/07/2008 TURKEY - RUSSIA - UKRAINE
    Bartholomew I at celebrations for the 1020 years of Christianity in Kiev
    The decision has an ecumenical flavour. It is intended to create an occasion for dialogue among the three communities: Greek Catholic, Ukrainian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox. But there is murmuring against Constantinople in Moscow.

    28/07/2009 RUSSIA
    Yuscenko: Ukraine wants a national church independent of Moscow
    The long pastoral visit of the leader of the Orthodox Church in Moscow begins in the midst of disagreement among the faithful in Ukraine, divided in three different churches. Kirill maintains that there is already an independent and national Orthodox church in the country; the one recognized by Moscow.

    22/03/2012 UKRAINE - RUSSIA
    Greek-catholic Patriarch: Orthodox connivance with Stalin undermines our relations
    The Major Archbishop of Kiev, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, invites Russian Orthodox to recognize their complicity in the persecution of Catholics in the USSR. For the Moscow Patriarchate the Uniate situation is the biggest obstacle to the meeting between Kirill and Pope.



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