Poroshenko violates constitution by meddling in church affairs, says Moscow patriarch

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MOSCOW, December 6. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko’s meddling in the country’s church affairs contradicts the Ukrainian constitution, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill stated on Thursday.

“The government declares their European choice; however, nothing like Poroshenko’s activities exists in Europe. He violates the constitution of his country, meddling into religious issues, he tries to control the church and then he talks about the European choice,” he said.

The Moscow patriarch noted that if a similar situation took place in Russia, the reaction of the international community would be very strong. “Can you imagine if Putin said that he is calling a church assembly on December 15, if he stated that this church is right for us, and this one is not, what would be going on in the world? All human rights defenders would be yelling,” the head of the Russian Orthodox Church stressed.

He added that the events in Ukraine prove that Poroshenko’s main goal is to stay in power, and it is hard to predict what would happen with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people as a result of his policies.

Earlier reports informed that the Unifying Assembly aimed at setting up an autocephalous church in Ukraine would take place on December 15.

On the outcomes of the Holy and Sacred Synod held on October 9-11, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople announced the decision to lift the anathema against leaders of two extracanonical churches in Ukraine – Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate and Makariy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. The Ecumenical Patriarchate also announced that it is starting the process of granting autocephalous status to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

In response to this, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has made a decision to cease joint Eucharistic celebrations (joint liturgies) with Constantinople.

On November 13, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate announced that it deems the decisions made by Constantinople invalid, and officially proclaimed the rupture of relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

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