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  • » 03/26/2014, 00.00

    RUSSIA - UKRAINE

    Moscow Patriarchate slams Ukrainian Catholic 'Uniates' for "meddling" in politics and taking a pro-West stance

    Nina Achmatova

    Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Department for External Church Relations, slams Catholic Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv for his positions. He also says he asked the Holy See for explanations. Diplomacy is faltering over the religious divisions.

    Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Moscow Patriarchate strongly condemned the Greek-Catholic (Uniate) Church in Ukraine for "meddling" in politics, in the current crisis in the country. For its part, Russia continues to accuse the Ukraine of "religious intolerance," a charge the latter sharply rejects, noting instead how all religious denominations have come together to oppose violence and express support for Europe.

    For Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, and his predecessor, Lubomyr Husar, took a "very clear position from the beginning of the civil conflict, which grew unfortunately into an armed bloody conflict".

    In his view, the Uniates not only advocated integration with Europe, "but even called for Western countries to intervene more decisively in the situation in Ukraine."

    Speaking on The Church and the world, a programme on the Russia-24 TV channel, Hilarion also noted that "Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk and [. . .] Filaret (Denisenko) even went to the United States, [. . .] to the State Department and asked for US intervention in Ukrainian affairs."

    Excommunicated by the Moscow Patriarchate, Filaret is the head of the breakaway Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate.

    In early February, Archbishop Shevchuk spoke before the US Congress. On that occasion, he said that the Ukraine situation transcended politics and asked for US mediation to resolve the crisis.

    Conversely, for Hilarion, the Greek-Catholic Church is a major obstacle in relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Holy See.

    The Orthodox, he said, have always perceived the Uniates in a very negative light, "as a special project by the Catholic Church," because "they dress like Orthodox, follow Orthodox rituals, but are in fact Catholic," which gives them and the Vatican a certain leeway.

    When he asked a Catholic official for an explanation about the show of support from the Greek-Catholic Church for the breakaway Orthodox Church, the only answer Hilarion said he got was "We do not control them."

    For his part, Shevchuk, who recently met with Pope Francis, bemoans the disappearances of people in Ukraine, who were "abducted and tortured" by the Berkut, the special police in the government of ousted president Yanukovych.

    Moscow and Kyiv also continue to trade barbs over religion. The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture has rejected Russian accusations of "religious intolerance" with regards to alleged threats and seizure of parishes that are under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine.

    According to the ministry's Religious Affairs Department, no such actions have taken place. On the contrary, during protests at Maiden (Independence) Square, "all the churches, including the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," came out to defend the people and show their support for a pro-European orientation in the country's development.

    Likewise, Kyiv has denied claims by the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian government that the country is in a civil war.

    Instead, Russia continues to be under diplomatic pressure to avoid a wider Ukrainian crisis, following its annexation of the Crimea.

    In fact, US President Barack Obama is in Brussels for a summit with EU leaders Barroso and Van Rompuy to discuss possible new sanctions.

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    See also

    07/03/2014 UKRAINE - RUSSIA
    Crimea: Church and pro-Ukraine Crimeans demonstrate for peace
    The Orthodox Metropolitan of Simferopol prays for Ukraine's territorial integrity. Crimean Muslims also demonstrate. Tensions persist between pro-Russia and pro-Ukraine Crimeans. As US and EU threaten Putin with financial sanctions if he does not accept negotiations with Ukraine, fears rise in the Baltic republics.

    20/09/2014 UKRAINE - RUSSIA
    Ukrainian Orthodox parishes leaving Moscow Patriarchate for Kyiv
    According to reports from the Ukrainian Church-Kyiv Patriarchate, at least a dozen congregations have opted to switch with local media reporting that the shift is due to the reluctance of the clergy and faithful to accept the support of the Russian Patriarchate for the Kremlin's policies.

    04/04/2014 RUSSIA - UKRAINE
    For Metropolitan Hilarion, Ukraine crisis ended preparations for meeting between pope and patriarch
    According to the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, the two sides were working on preparations last fall, but the actions of the Greek-Catholic Church during Maidan Square protests Maidan "have thrown us much back".

    02/06/2017 10:02:00 UKRAINE-RUSSIA
    Death of Card. Lubomyr Husar, bishop of Kiev

    He was a great witness to the Catholic faith and passionate in seeking unity among all Christians. Exile in the monastery of Grottaferrata. Friendship with Cardinal Josif Slipyj. He handled the return of the faithful to the Greek-Catholic Church after the fall of the USSR and healed the wounds of persecution. The telegram of Pope Francis to Archbishop Shevchuk, Successor to Husar.



    22/08/2017 09:14:00 RUSSIA - VATICAN
    Moscow, dialogue between Orthodox and uniates in the heart of peace

    Card. Pietro Parolin’s trip to Moscow is an opportunity to rebuild understanding between Catholics and Orthodox, marked by the wounds of the atheist past and the Ukrainian conflict. Russian Latin rite faithful seem to have a mediatory role. Yesterday there was the meeting between Card. Parolin and Metropolitan Hilarion. Today, the much anticipated meetings with Kirill and Foreign Minister Serghei Lavrov.





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