Leonid Slutsky, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, fears the possible persecution of priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) of the Moscow Patriarchate and the attacks of its parishes after the signing of the Thomos for a new church structure, the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine by the Patriarch of Constantinople.
“The signing by the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew of Thomos for the so-called OCU aggravates the split of Orthodox Christians in Ukraine. This is certainly an imposed politicized action that will definitely increase confrontation in Ukraine, human tragedies and pain”- said MP Slutsky.
Earlier, the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew signed the Thomos for the so-called OCU in Istanbul. Prior to this, a prayer service was held, which was attended by the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin, Speaker of Parliament Andrey Paruby and the head of the OCU Metropolitan Epiphanius.
According to Slutsky, thomos is “a paper that has no canonical significance,” that can push the Orthodox to a wrongful divisive way. “This is alarming for people who are believers and those who are not indifferent to the fate of their fellows. Both Poroshenko, Klimkin, and Paruby, supported by their Western tutors, are little aware of what they really do with the Ukrainian people and their faith” – the head of the committee added.
Deputy Slutsky noted that the current leadership of Ukraine pursues only one goal – to remain in power in any way. “And anti-constitutional interference in religious affairs is only a part of the plan of the Kiev elite, that is now in electoral agony” he concluded.