Zelensky orders full probe of Ukrainian Orthodox Church
December 05, 2022
CWN Editor's Note: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has ordered government officials to “ensure the religious examination of the Management Statute of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church for the presence of a church-canonical connection with the Moscow Patriarchate and, if necessary, to take measures provided for by law.”
The presidential directive requires an inquiry into the “connections of certain religious circles in Ukraine with the aggressor state”—an obvious reference to the longstanding ties between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) and the Patriarchate of Moscow. However the results of such an investigation are not clear, particularly since the UOC has been asserting its independence from Moscow in the wake of the Russian invasion.
Zelensky’s initiative could provide Russia with a new propaganda topic: a claim that the war is necessary to save the UOC from persecution. At the same time, it could lead to resentment among the Orthodox faithful, including those who believe that the Zelensky government has sided with the other major Orthodox body, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), which has already made a definitive break with Moscow.
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