UOC denies fake about its refusal to join AUCCRO delegation’s visit to US

06 November 2023 15:12
Deputy Chairman of the DECR UOC, Archpriest Mykolay Danylevych. Photo: news.church.ua0 Deputy Chairman of the DECR UOC, Archpriest Mykolay Danylevych. Photo: news.church.ua0

The UOC Department for External Church Relations proposed a candidate for a visit to the United States as part of the AUCCRO delegation, but received no response.

The Deputy Chairman of the External Relations Department of the UOC, Father Mykolay Danylevych, has refuted the statement made by the spokesperson of the OCU, Archbishop Yevstratiy Zoria, claiming that the UOC "did not consider it necessary" to include a representative "of the appropriate level" in the delegation of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (AUCCRO) for the visit to the United States.

In his Telegram channel, Father Mykolay stated that the planning for the trip began during the summer, and the organizers required the candidate to be fluent in English because most interviews and speeches were supposed to be conducted in English. Considering this criterion, the UOC's External Relations Department suggested the candidacy of their employee, Professor Serhiy Bortnik from the Kyiv Theological Academy.

"For a long time, the organizers simply remained silent," Father Mykolay noted. "We clarified several times through the chairman of the AUCCRO how and what to do, and it was clear then that they did not want to see us there. ... We only learned from the media that the trip had already begun. By the way, it was supposed to take place in early October but was postponed to a later date. And, as it turned out, the interviews were also given there not in English, but in Ukrainian."

Regarding the "level" of the UOC representative, the Deputy Head of the DECR emphasized that "the denomination itself determines whom to send" and that "if they found Professor Bortnik, who also deals with external church affairs, insufficient, they could have asked for another candidate."

"When needed, they call us, write to us, and ask, 'Who will represent you?' 'Give us a representative,' and so on. In this case, the behavior was entirely different. Obviously, they did not want to see us to avoid spoiling the picture of AUCCRO's supposedly unanimous position. So, there's no need to tell falsehoods that we supposedly did not consider it necessary to send anyone there at all, as Yevstratiy claimed," Father Mykolay Danylevych emphasized.

As previously reported by the UOJ, the UOC's External Relations Department emphasized that the statements of the AUCCRO delegation in the United States about the "high level" of religious freedom in Ukraine do not correspond to reality.

The UOJ also reported that Ukrainian authorities sent the AUCCRO delegation to the United States to "counter" the media explosion following the broadcast by journalist Tucker Carlson and UOC lawyer Bob Amsterdam.

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