The attitude of the state authorities towards the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has changed for the better over the past two years, but at the local level, anti-church sentiments are still supported and, most likely, will be supported by officials to solve their personal goals. This opinion was expressed by the managing director of the UOC, Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, in the “Word of the Hierarch” program on the UkrLive TV channel on January 6, 2022, Pravlife writes.
“The situation has changed, perhaps even radically, in relation to the period of President Poroshenko’s rule, because then the state policy was to infringe on the rights of believers and simply to destroy the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Now there is no such state policy – there is no order from Kiev to seize churches. If we take brief statistics, then in 2019 there were 128 raider seizures. Last year there were only 7. In 2019 there were 88 so-called “transitions”, and last year there were none at all. That is, there is no state order, there are no instructions from the center, and the situation is gradually stabilizing, ”said Metropolitan Anthony.
“Of course, we will live for many years to come in a difficult situation of relations with schismatics, because we see that there are still nationalist forces and politicians on the ground who are trying to support their electorate in this way. They will use this question in the future as well. But we are grateful to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that there is still a certain distance between politicians and religious topics, ”said the UOC business manager.
At the same time, the bishop stated that the state was doing nothing in order to resolve the most important issues for the life of the Church. For example, due to the so-called. “The law on renaming” more than 1000 parishes of the UOC do not have state registration. Also, a serious problem remains the law facilitating the transfer of communities of the canonical Church to the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”.
“When we talk about our rights and the problems that exist in the UOC in connection with the events of the so-called. Tomos, we do not ask ourselves any privileges, – said Metropolitan Anthony. – We are only talking about the fact that the faithful children of the UOC are equal members of Ukrainian society and citizens of their state. All laws, starting from the Constitution, guarantee us equal rights to exist, to believe, to be in the church. Therefore, if some official, due to some of his convictions, acts unlawfully, I think that our guarantor of the Constitution has every opportunity to correct this. It should be both an internal desire and the fulfillment of those obligations that are imposed on the President of Ukraine.”
The bishop noted with regret that when coming to power, many officials are guided not by state expediency, but by their personal ambitions. They have no responsibility before God, before the state and history.
“But I hope that people still live by their own conscience, and their conscience should prompt. Yes, of course, conscience can be burned, and it will suggest something completely different, but there are also arbiters. And on Earth there are arbitrators who must prompt a person how to bring conscience into a frame, but if there are no earthly arbiters or they do not want to do this, then there is also an Arbitrator over all of us, and He very closely follows the life of each person. And if sometimes we go very far, He gives very painful signs. The fear of God should always be present, and not only in the believer, but also in the person whom the Lord brings to the ministry. After all, any public office is service. Serving your people, and generally serving God,” said Metropolitan Anthony.