03/24/2014, 00.00
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Bishop from Ukrainian-Church Moscow Patriarchate rails against Putin, calls him "a bandit"

Sofrony, metropolitan of Cherkasy and Kanev, appeals to senior Ukrainian officials in Russian government, like Federation Council speaker and Culture minister, to "Mend your terrible and criminal mistakes".

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate continue to release statements slamming Russia's actions in Crimea, suggesting at a broader and growing split with Patriarch Kirill.

The Metropolitan of Cherkasy and Kanev Sofrony lambasted Russian officials from his region for backing Vladimir Putin's military intervention in Ukraine, going so far as to call the Russian leader a "bandit", this according to religion.in.ua.

Throughout "its history," the metropolitan said, "Ukraine has known many cases of betrayal. Traitors have not disappeared even in our time. I understand - money, fame, influence, and power - but where is [your] conscience?"

The reference here is to some officials originally from the Ukraine who occupy senior positions in the Russian state, people like Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko who backed the legislation that appealed to the Russian president for sending troops to the Ukraine, and Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinskii, who was one of the organisers of the collection of signatures among Russian cultural leaders in support of Vladimir Putin's Crimea policy.

"I am embarrassed for you, Valentina Matvienko," Sonofry said. "You and I met when you came to Cherkasy. I am embarrassed for your relatives who still live in Cherkasy [. . .]; you grew up there, so how could you act so low with regard to your people, calling for that bandit Putin (it is impossible to call him anything else) to send troops here, against your compatriots?"

"I would [also] hope to look into the eyes of the Russian minister of culture," who is "from Smila" (a city in Cherkasy province). "What kind of culture does he have? Or does he know history and know about the sufferings of Ukrainians?"

"If you are also wise and your brain works better than at 4 per cent, then come to your senses. Mend your terrible and criminal mistakes against your own people, because God will not forgive you".

A few days ago, even the temp head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan of Chernovtsy and Bukovina Onufry, voiced his opposition to the use of force.

In an interview with the Moscow Patriarchate, he had said that he hoped to see Russia do "everything possible to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine".

"Otherwise," he warned, "it will inflict a bloody wound to the unity of our two peoples, which will be painfully reflected on our mutual relations."

For various analysts, it is now clear that the Ukrainian Church-Moscow Patriarchate is moving increasingly away from Russia.

Sources close to the Patriarchate told AsiaNews that within the Holy Synod, Onufry's hardline position is gaining ground. (NA)

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Crimea: on the eve of the referendum the Ukrainian Church appeals for the country's integrity
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