15 February 2008, 12:43
Moscow, February 15, Interfax – Ukrainian authorities intend to detach the country's Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate already this year and press on laymen and clerics, Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa and Ismail stated.
'Today's Ukrainian governmental authorities have a task: to gain 'autocephaly', separation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate already in 2008 at all costs,' he said in an interview to the Russkiy Dom magazine.
Metropolitan Agafangel notes that earlier the Ukrainian state attempted to 'impose' a split with the Russian Church on canonical Church by establishing parallel 'schismatic pseudo-churches' while today the believers face 'an absolutely new, unprecedented in its scale and impudence, scenario when 'a canonical autocephaly' is imposed on the very Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
According to the metropolitan, local authorities were commanded to 'lobby autocephaly.'
'Bishops and clerics of the Moscow Patriarchate's Ukrainian Orthodox Church are under strongest pressure. Both glittering promises and threats, blackmails are used. In store is lynching of most active advocates of church unity among clergy and laymen. No effort is spared not to let function those public organizations that openly oppose the threat of a new schism,' the metropolitan said.
He further said that the canonical Church is forced to 'dialogue' with schismatics from the so-called 'Kiev Patriarchate' of 'Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.'
'In compliance with the holy canons there cannot be any 'unification' with the 'Kiev Patriarchate's Ukrainian Church' or 'Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.' The only possible thing for schismatics is to join the canonical Church. It's not the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that should meet the conditions set by schismatics and nationalistic politicos and break the holy God-willed unity with the Russian Orthodox Church. It's the scismatics who have to accept the teaching, the practice and the church organization of the Mother-Church,' Metropolitan Agafangel said.
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