Russians react to split of Ukrainian Orthodox Church
(16 Dec 2018) Russian faithful reacted on Sunday to the newly christened Ukrainian Orthodox Church which has now split from the Moscow Patriarchate.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, didn't address the creation of the church during a service on Sunday in Zvenigorod outside Moscow.
But his spokesman, Father Alexander Volkov, said the only challenge the Russian Church could offer was to speak the "truth about the oppression of believers, the violations of legal constitutional rights of Ukrainian citizens, those who will vote for Poroshenko or against him in March of next year."
Political analyst Maria Lipman said the vote to approve the creation of the church, aimed at unifying Ukrainian Orthodox believers under one roof, was certain to anger authorities in Russia.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has made the creation of the new churhc a key campaign issue, and on Saturday stressed that Ukraine had seized "spiritual independence, which can be likened to political independence."
He added that an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church was now a matter of national security.
The Russian Orthodox Church has protested vigorously against Kiev's attempts to create an independent church and has called on the United Nations, the leaders of Germany and France, the pope and other spiritual leaders to protect Orthodox believers in Ukraine.
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