(RISU) - Archbishop Oleksandr (Drabynko) of Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) explained why the UOC-MP does not promote the idea of autocephaly. According to his observations, there are no differences in the national conscience between Ukrainians and Russians, who are peoples of the same faith and, therefore, clergymen do not raise this question.
The hierarch expressed this opinion in an interview to RISU.
"As I have repeatedly stated, the question of autocephaly is not important to me. The important thing for me is the full unity of the Orthodox in Ukraine and communion over the same chalice of Christ," said the archbishop.
The hierarch noted that autocephalous churches in Europe appeared after the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire when the new states were established. According to him, the Orthodox Church often was in the forefront of the struggle for independence.
"The connection of nationality with Orthodoxy in these territories was especially important; it was life-asserting and nation-forming. There was an external enemy, the Ottoman Empire, there were political and Orthodox ideas which coincided in the joint struggle against the Turks who seized these territories."
According to Archbishop Oleksandr, the situation in Ukraine was somewhat different.
"What was the main thing when the territories of Ukraine were annexed to the Russian Empire at one time? The fact that it had an Orthodox czar. And the Church in Ukraine could not ever support any liberation movements leading to the creation of a separate state of Ukraine. Why? Because Orthodoxy was professed both by the 'invaders' and those who were annexed, and the Church could not exert influence on the formation of Ukraine as a state,” said the hierarch.
The archbishop of UOC-MP noted that today the situation has not changed considerably.
"This situation has remained the same as we view the northern neighbor as a sister-nation of the same faith and, actually, propaganda of autocephaly would indicate that some problems exist in the national conscience of Russia and Ukraine, which today are almost non-existant. Only certain elites involved in the division of the present world have problems,” concluded the hierarch.