Western Ukraine
Monday 03 august, 2009, 21:26
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Chauvinistic Patriarch Kiril suffers ideological pratfall in Ukraine

The degree of public discontent with the visit of Moscow Patriarch Kiril to Ukraine has reached such proportions that even his insiders have realized that the chauvinistic statements made by Kiril in Donbas or Sevastopol will not be tolerated in Western Ukraine as shown by quite resolute declarations of nationalists there, Andrij Yurash, an expert on religion and lecturer at the Lviv Franko university told ZIK Aug. 3.

The expert called outrageous Kiril’s utterances in Sevastopol in which he referred to the creation of an independent Ukraine as a tragic event of history. In all, Kiril made a score of equally humiliating declarations, Yurash says, notably, speaking in very aggressive and disrespectful terms about the Ukrainian Orthodox church (Kyiv patriarchate) which Moscow has not recognized. Kiril said the rites of UOC (KP) are hypocritical. He denied outright the right of Ukrainians to have their own church not subjugated to Moscow, the expert notes.

It looks, Yurash goes on, as if Patriarch Kiril came to Ukraine to promote the mindset which is accepted in Russia - the supremacy of one (Russian) church and absolute disregard for any opposing viewpoint. Ukraine is a multi-national and multi-religious country, with the years of coexistence molding the culture of mutual dialog and respect – something which Kiril lacks so much, Yurash says.

Representatives of UOC (Kyiv Patriarchate) have confirmed plans to hold a religion procession on Aug. 5 near the Pochaiv Lavra Monastery to be visited by Kiril the same day, archpriest Anatoly Zinkevych, the head of the Sviato-Troitsky religious center in Ternopil, said.

The purpose of the procession is to show Patriarch Kiril that there are many people in Ukraine who want to have their own independent church as well as to send a message to Kiril to behave as a guest in Ukraine, not as a master. “We can see that many of Kiril’s declarations are provocative, aggressive and violate the rules of good manners,” Zinkevych stressed.
The procession will be also joined by members of Cossack organizations. The organizers forecast that between 20,000 and 30,000 people will attend the procession, starting at 8.30 near the St. Andrew Church.

“We made it a point that the route of our procession doesn’t cross with any events likely to be staged by Kiril supporters to avoid provocations and clashes.

The visit to the Pochaiv Lavra is the last on Patriarch Kiril’s itinerary in Ukraine.

Comments 1
  • Alexander Montes 8 August 2009 02:08
    I think the author of this article is entirely mistaken and doesn't understand the real danger that the Patriarch Kirill's trip to Ukraine represents. In fact I think that the Patriarch's comments and trip to Ukraine show that his real interests are not those of Russia, those of Ukraine or those of Belarus or any of such place. His real interests are those of the Church that he leads which he clearly identifies as being not the Church of Russia but the Church of Rus'. He is basically announcing that he will do whatever will benefit the Church that he leads independently of any Eastern Slavic state-even of Russia if I might add. It's basically the beginning of a declaration of independence for his Church and it creates a very dangerous dynamic that I don't think Russia, Ukraine or Belarus as states know how to deal with. It's the beginning of a new situation and I wouldn't be surprised that what Kirill is interested in ultimately is the creation of a supranational state akin to a Iranian style theocracy where the rulers are the clerics. This is new indeed and is a new kind of danger for which I don't think any of the governments of Russia, Ukraine or Belarus are prepared. I predict very severe problems in the future because I think that Kirill will attempt to gain political influence in all of the East Slavic states that were once part of the Soviet Union. So I would advise the writer of this article to be a little bit smarter about things and not to repeat the same kind of analysis.
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