09/20/2014, 00.00
UKRAINE - RUSSIA
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Ukrainian Orthodox parishes leaving Moscow Patriarchate for Kyiv

by Nina Achmatova
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.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - A dozen parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate have gone over to the Kyiv Patriarchate in various parts of the country, whilst others are planning to canvass their members on the same issue.

On its website, Religiia v Ukraine (Religion in Ukraine) is saying that the trend is due to the reluctance of the clergy and faithful to follow the Moscow Patriarchate after the latter backed Kremlin's aggressive action towards Ukraine, especially in Crimea and the country's East.

In the Volyn region, members of two communities expressed a desire to join the Kyiv Patriarchate.

In the village of Uhriniv, the Church of the Nativity plans to decide whether to switch even though its pastor disagrees.

In Pechykhvosty, another pro-Moscow Patriarchate parish collected 286 signatures on a petition, demanding that they come under the jurisdiction of the local diocese of the Kyiv Patriarchate. On 24 August, a new parish priest arrived who prayed for Ukraine in his first liturgy.

On 17 August, the St Michael parish, in the Rovenskaya region, did the same.

Earlier, another church in the same area another came under Kyiv after the local priest refused to pray for Ukrainian soldiers involved in military operations against pro-Russian separatists in the east.

"We do not have precise statistics," said the head of the information service and secretary of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate," but in 2014, about ten parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate came over to us."

The regions most affected by the trend are Kherson, Rivne and Chernihiv.

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