Today, June 21, the Patriarch of Kyiv and All Russia-Ukraine addressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The appeal was published on the website of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate.
"The military attack that Russia has carried out on Ukraine, as well as the support of this horrible and anti-Christian war by Moscow Patriarch Kirill, the episcopate of the Russian Orthodox Church, has raised the fundamental question of the impossibility of the Moscow Patriarchate continuing to be on the territory of our country. This Church has made itself the undisguised henchman and inspirer of the Russian aggressor. Therefore, it must bear all responsibility for the crimes committed in Ukraine by the Russian occupiers.
During the Russian-Ukrainian war, the Ukrainian Church, as the spiritual foundation of the Ukrainian nation, is in particular need of two things: independence and unity.
The decisions of the Local Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate of May 27, 2022, regarding the independent status of the Church from Moscow have opened up unique prospects for Orthodox unification and the creation of a truly united local Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Unfortunately, the previous president of Ukraine did not solve the problem of the disunity of Ukrainian Orthodoxy; on the contrary, he exacerbated the internal confrontation. Today our Church, as we know, is divided into the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in the care of the Patriarch of Constantinople, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate. Under Poroshenko's presidency, the appearance in Ukraine of a purely Greek Church, the Exarchate of the Constantinople Patriarchate, was added to this list.
The further separation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church into three branches is a crime against the Ukrainian people. The Church is a great consolidating spiritual force, capable of inspiring and supporting the people in the struggle for their freedom. But it can only fulfill its pastoral mission effectively when it is the only one. For it is said, "That they all may be one: as thou Father is in me, and I in thee, so may they be one with us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" (John 17:21-23).
It is not without reason that your predecessor, the great hetman Ivan Mazepa, at the head of the Cossack Ukraine, called disunion the main cause of our defeats: "All sincerely long for peace and do not all pull the same cord," wrote Philaret.
According to the clergyman, the notion that we need to return to resolving church issues after Ukraine has won is mistaken, because we need unity today and now. United within the country, it will be easier for us to overcome the external enemy.
"As the oldest hierarch of the Orthodox Church by ordination and age, and the last head of the still united Ukrainian Orthodox Church (until the moment when Moscow, in order to stop my course for autocephaly, split the Ukrainian Church by organizing the May 27-28, 1992. non-canonical, so-called Kharkov Cathedral), on June 2, 2022 I addressed the initiative to convene the All-Ukrainian Local Orthodox Council, which would be attended by representatives of all three branches of Ukrainian Orthodoxy.
At the same time, I suggested that this council should decide to unite into a single apostolic Ukrainian Orthodox Church with patriarchal administration and proclaim full autocephaly. I addressed the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry, and the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, His Beatitude Epiphanius, with this proposal, assuring that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate was already ready to participate in the future council.
At a time when the entire Ukrainian nation has consolidated for one purpose, the victory over the enemy, we pastors, feeling a great responsibility before God, must reject our ambitions and images and unite," added Flaret.