Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine spoke in an interview with Deutsche Welle about the completion of three years since the granting of the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine, the recognition of the Church by the Church of Greece, Cyprus, and the Patriarchate of Alexandria but also for the recent “attack” of the Moscow Patriarchate on the Church of Alexandria.
Metropolitan Epifaniy stated that more than 70% of Ukraine are Christian Orthodox, and 50% of them are faithful to the Church of Ukraine. “This inspires us to keep working,” he said.
A total of 700 parishes have transferred from the UOC-MP to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, and there are isolated cases in various parts of the country where transfers take place. “But unfortunately we notice that there is no desire on the part of the local authorities to re-register the statute.”
He went on to say that “now there are many communities, many clergymen from the Moscow Patriarchate who turn to us, who are ready to make the right decision, but they are afraid.”
Metropolitan Epifaniy claimed that there will be difficulties, obstacles, and persecutions from the Moscow Patriarchate, as recently there have been appeals for every transfer, for every parish, with the Moscow Patriarchate believing that the transfers were wrong. “But we won 99% of all the appeals they filed. And that shows we are on the right track.”
The Metropolitan of Kyiv referred to the issue that arose in recent days, with the creation of a Russian Exarchate in Africa.
As he stated, “now we see the invasion of the Russian Church in the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, which recognized the Autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine. And this is a kind of revenge of the Russian Church against the Patriarch of Alexandria.”
He stressed that “Patriarch Kirill behaves like Putin. As Putin does, Kirill acts on the same standards on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church. If they cannot influence, they try to divide. They are trying to redeem the clergy, as there is no division within the Patriarchate of Alexandria.”
He believes that these actions of the Moscow Patriarchate affect other Churches that may want to recognize the Church of Ukraine.
“The other Churches analyze, expect, take into account these actions, which aim to divide Orthodoxy,” he stressed.
When asked which Churches they are, he said: “now the issue is on the agenda of the Church of Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Albania, and Jerusalem”.
The Metropolitan of Kyiv estimates that such aggressive moves by the Russian Church will have a negative effect on it. “Such lawlessness cannot be supported by the other Churches. It is a violation of the canonical order in the life of the Church, which has existed for thousands of years”.