02/23/2015, 00.00
UKRAINE - RUSSIA
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For Ukrainian Church, even the pope calls the conflict a civil war, something Kyiv does not acknowledge

by Nina Achmatova
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.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - "Perhaps for the first time since [Stalin's] militant atheism, the two 'wings' of the Church of Christ - Orthodox and Catholic - are together on the evil that is happening," said Vasily Anisimov, head of the press service of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate

In an article in Interfax, Asinimov welcomes the pope's appeal to end the "fratricidal violence" and the "war between Christians" in Ukraine. He begins with Francis's words to condemn the position taken by the Ukrainian government, which, he believes continues to deny that the war in the east is a war between Ukrainians.

He notes that the pope's assessment of the disaster in Donbass fully coincides with that of the Orthodox world. In fact, both the Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Onufry, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, and the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew and other primates of national Orthodox Churches are calling for an end to the bloodshed in our devastated land.

This position does not does not coincide with Ukraine's official propaganda. "Has anyone heard a word urging for fraternity, mercy and humanity to opponents from those in power or from militant propagandists during long months of this terrible war?" Anisimov asks. "What are the roots of this fanatic intolerance? Or there are no Christians capable to hear the voice of the Church of Christ, to hear its position among our officials?" Anisimov writes.

Baiting Ukrainian leaders, he cites the recent case of Ukrainian journalist-blogger Ruslan Kotsaba, who belongs to the Greek Catholic Church, which is in communion with the pope but follows eastern rites.

Currently held in Ivano-Frankivsk awaiting trial on treason charges, Kotsaba earlier this month described the conflict in the Donbass as a "civil war" and called on Ukrainians to dodge the draft after President Petro Poroshenko issued orders to mobilise forces to fight in the east. As part of this drive, three recruitment campaigns are planned for this year.

According to Anisimov, Ukrainian secret services are already digging into the journalist's network of contacts and found links with colleagues in NTV, one of the Russian TV networks banned in Ukraine.

However, for a sarcastic Anisimov, Kotsaba's subversive sources are already very clear. They come from the Vatican, from Pope Francis.

"I wonder what punishment our authorities will choose for the Pope of Rome for his evident anti-state activities? Will they stop broadcasting his sermons, cut out any references to him in movies and TV-programs? Or will they ban him to enter the country [sic]".

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