The war in Ukraine also has religious consequences. The Orthodox Church of Ukraine announced this week that it was severing its ties with the Church of Russia. The Patriarch of Moscow has repeatedly supported the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In Belgium, this attitude is rejected by the Ukrainians, but also by the Russian faithful.
On Friday evening, the Moscow branch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church severed its ties with Russia because of the position of Moscow Patriarch Kirill, who supports Vladimir Putin.
At the end of a council, dedicated to “aggression” Russian, was pronounced “the full independence and autonomy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church”, according to a press release, which specified that the relations of the Ukrainian Church with its Muscovite leadership were “complicated or non-existent“since the beginning of the conflict. As for Kirill, “not only did he not condemn Russia’s military aggression, but he also found no words for the suffering Ukrainian people“, was indignant a spokesperson.
He’s been in jail, he likes young girls, he likes skiing, he likes gold watches
Our team went to the Orthodox Church of Uccle this Sunday, when mass was leaving. It is in everyone’s conversation: the decision of the Ukrainian Orthodox to sever all ties with Russia. “That’s wonderful. That’s all we want“, confides a couple to us.
For these faithful, it is too much. They don’t have enough harsh words to talk about Patriarch Kirill, their spiritual leader. “It became anything“, the lady tells us.”They are former KGB’ists. He’s been in jail, he likes young girls, he likes skiing, he likes gold watches. That’s not a patriarch! It is far from being religious!“, adds her husband.
At the head of 150 million faithful for 13 years, Vladimir Goundiaïev of his real name shares a lot with the Russian president. Besides the first name, the patriarch is also from Leningrad, and he too is a former KGB secret agent. Enough to build a solid friendship and break down the barriers between politics and religion. Kirill, the war-mongering patriarch, is a supporter of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “We cannot allow dark and hostile external forces to mock us,” he declared publicly on February 27 in Moscow.
There is obviously a very great weakening of Moscow
On Easter Day, as Vladimir Putin celebrates the religious holiday with Patriarch Kirill, the Ukrainian brothers are bombarded. “The Ukrainian Orthodox Church does not accept, condemns and completely dissociates itself from the statements of Patriarch Kirill on Russian aggression in Ukraine“says today Kliment, bishop of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
Divorce between Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox had become inevitable. “You should know that, in a way, Russian Orthodoxy was born in kyiv, that is to say in Ukraine. If now all Orthodoxy in Ukraine dissociates itself from the Moscow Patriarchate, there is obviously a very great weakening of Moscow“, explains Tommy Scholtès, Belgian specialist in religious information.
He is nicknamed the oligarch in a cassock. The man tried to erase his 30,000 euro watch on this official photo, but he was betrayed by the reflection on the varnished wooden table. The Russian Church has finally recognized a gross error.
A bling bling patriarch rejected by more and more faithful wherever they are. The Moscow Patriarchate has just lost 40% of its church, not counting the architectural gems of Ukraine.
A second schism
The initiative of the Moscow branch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the second Orthodox schism in Ukraine in a few years. Part of the Ukrainian Church, represented by the kyiv Patriarchate, had already broken with Moscow in 2019 because of the Kremlin’s interference in the country.