By Kostas Onisenko
Mass events are planned for today in Kyiv by the Russian Church in Ukraine on the occasion of the celebration of the 1033rd anniversary of the Baptism of the Rus-Ukraine by St. Vladimir.
Representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine have chosen to make a “show of strength”, mobilizing thousands of their supporters from various parts of Ukraine, who will come by hired coaches, but also from other countries, such as Georgia and Serbia.
The fact that there is a very high threat of the spread of the coronavirus and in particular the Delta mutation, does not seem to concern the organizers.
It is indicative that in Russia itself such cross-marches have been banned, while when this happened in Yekaterinburg, it took place in violation of the instructions given by the authorities and received a lot of criticism.
At the same time, the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill himself remains in quarantine for a few months and does not appear at public events, despite the fact that he has been vaccinated with the Russian vaccine.
And of course, it is worth noting that the claim made falsely by the Russian Church in Ukraine – that it has nothing to do with Moscow – is refuted not only by its statutes but also by officials, such as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who in a recent interview clearly stated that it is a “Russian Church”.
So what the Russian Church does not allow herself in Russia, as this will have a huge impact on the mass health of the population, it does through its representatives in Ukraine, obviously indifferent to the population of that country.
In fact, in order for the Russian Church in Ukraine to protect itself in the event of a massive coronavirus wave, which is expected to be provoked due to its initiatives, it has created “faithful organizations” of its proxys, such as the “Miriani” organization, which appears as the organizers of various mass events, including the recent demonstration against the visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Kiev.
And of course, it is worth noting at this point that the official Church of Ukraine has stated that it will not hold mass events due to the threat of a pandemic and will limit itself to prayers.
This does not mean that the anniversary of the Baptism of the Rus is less sacred to the Church of Ukraine than to the Russians, as, in fact, the Ukrainians are the successors of the State of Kyiv, where the Baptism took place. But Metropolitan Epifaniy realizes that at this time the protection of the population from the deadly disease is paramount to the mass celebrations.
This attitude of the two ecclesiastical structures that exist in Ukraine, the Russian Church in Ukraine and the Autocephalous Ukrainian Church, was evident from an early age as the Russian Church – in contrast to the Ukrainian – did not observe the measures of protection of its faithful, performing mass services -for example- in the Kyiv Lavra where, as can be seen from many photos, the protection measures against the coronavirus were not observed.
At the same time, Ukrainian analysts point out that today’s event, like other events of the Russian Church in Ukraine, is aimed at “demonstrating power” and trying to undermine the visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch to Kyiv, which is scheduled for the end of August.
Representatives of this religious structure have stated that they do not want the visit to take place, linking it with an upcoming new wave of transfers of parishes from the Russian Church in Ukraine to the autocephalous Church of Ukraine.
Many believers in Ukraine – ordinary people who have not deepened their knowledge of ecclesiastical matters but may watch pro-Russian channels on television or their parish priest may be a member of the Russian Church – are often confused about which is the Canonical Church in Ukraine.
However, it is estimated that His Holiness’s visit to Kyiv and its coverage by the media will open the eyes of many.
This is the reason why the Russian Church is making such desperate efforts to cancel the visit.
Ukrainian media reports even speak of possible provocations before the visit.
According to them, some people who will appear as believers of the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine or “Ukrainian nationalists” may carry out attacks on believers of the Russian Church, with the aim of accusing the Ukrainian Church of “religious hatred”, “oppression of the faithful”. , “Nationalism”, etc.
Finally, it is worth noting that no matter how careful and measured the actions and statements of the hierarchs of the Church of Ukraine during this period are, the greatest burden of responsibility for preventing such situations lies with the Ukrainian police, which must take on the custody of all these events.
So far, however, the only announcement made by the police concerns the management of traffic, which started today at 06.00 to be limited to the main streets of Kyiv to cross the crossroads.