#Commentary on Alexander Malkov on Ukrainian religious dissent and nationalism
The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko promised to the inhabitants of Ukraine to establish a single autocephalous local church before the celebration of the 1030th anniversary of the Conversion of Russia on July 28, 2018 and the creation of which, according to the Ukrainian leader, would be approved by the Patriarch of Constantinople by this time.
However, he does not seem to believe that he can keep his promise. Thus, Poroshenko stated on July 15 that “there is no indication that we already have gotten tomos (on granting autocephaly – Ed.) in the bag. We have only two things to do in order to get it: to pray, believe and strive for it… Therefore, Moscow and “fifth column” maintain fierce resistance in the country. Even some politicians, who are considered pro-Ukrainian, allow themselves to say that we should not rush into granting autocephaly”.
Religious dissenters and religious nationalists continue to struggle fiercely for the canonical succession of the Kyivan Archdiocese. It used to be a unified orthodox metropolitanate in the territory of Russia, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland until 1458 and was within the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople.
Reassigning of autonomous Kiev Archdiocese to Moscow, which was approved by Constantinople, was carried out in 1686, when the territory of left-bank Ukraine became part of the Russian Kingdom. Dionysius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, with the consent of other eastern patriarchs sent a letter that approved the appointment of metropolitan Gedeon (Chetvertensky) as the Head of the Kiev Archdiocese reunited with the Moscow Patriarchate. His successors canonically have been subordinated to the Moscow Patriarchy since then.
The struggle for the secession of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate, as well as for the secession of Ukraine from Russia, was waged before the Frist World War, continued during the revolution and civil war in Russia, formation and existence of the USSR, Second World War and it is waged to this day. All Ukrainian religious and state problems in respect of their struggle for illusory independence consistently arise and are not resolved for a rather understandable reason – the attempts of certain ambitious people distinguish themselves from natural religious and civilization environment on the basis of Ukrainian nationalism.
Even on the eve of the 1030th anniversary of the Conversion of Russia, these pseudo leaders are trying to conduct some sectarian affairs with the support of Poroshenko, for instance, the celebration of the Church’s jubilee separately from the festive events of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. The Ukrainian formula – “to become independent from Moscow in all matters” – represents a dissolution process both in politics and religion. It is all because of dissent and nationalism, which are unacceptable neither in politics nor in religion by nature. That is why this formula is not implemented in any of the parameters: there is no external legitimacy or internal unity.
In conclusion, I would like to point out that the dissolution of such artificial entities as Ukraine, as well as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church is a matter of time. But it is inevitable. All attempts to the status of a local church in Ukraine, that is, a new Orthodox Church in the Orthodox world, without orthodox consent will be regarded as an Orthodox schism, which is unacceptable, according to hierarchs of local churches.
Alexander Malkov, the DPR People’s Council deputy
The Chairman of the Committee on the Development of Civil Society, Public and Religious Associations