DECR UOC comments on "Decree of the XXV World Russian People's Council"

28 March 15:45
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DECR UOC. Photo: vzcz.church.ua DECR UOC. Photo: vzcz.church.ua

"Calls for the destruction of Ukraine and justification of military aggression are incompatible with the evangelical teaching," the DECR UOC said.

On March 27, 2024, in Moscow, an extraordinary meeting of the World Russian People's Council, chaired by Patriarch Kirill and with the participation of other clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church, took place, during which a document titled "Decree of the XXV World Russian People's Council 'The Present and Future of the Russian World'" was approved and published. The Department of External Church Relations of the UOC issued a statement on this matter.

"The Ukrainian Orthodox Church dissociates itself, categorically does not share, and condemns the ideas outlined in this document," the statement emphasized.

The DECR UOC also noted the following:

"1. At the Local Council on May 27, 2022, the UOC proclaimed its complete independence from the ROC.

2. The UOC does not support and distances itself from the 'Russian world' ideology. Moreover, the attitude of our Church to this idea has long been publicly expressed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kyiv and All Ukraine: 'We are not building any Russian world, we are building God's world.'

This means that the Church should be concerned with the proper preaching of the Gospel, as commanded by Christ, rather than the formation of geopolitical and geo-spiritual constructs.

3. However, since each Local Church carries out its ministry within the framework of a specific state, the UOC, whose believers are citizens of Ukraine, binds itself in its earthly ministry with the State of Ukraine, in defense of which the Church has called from the first day of the full-scale Russian invasion.

4. The position of the UOC on these issues is detailed in official documents (read more here).

5. It should also be added that the mentioned text of the WRPA ignores historical facts and context related to the formation and development of the Ukrainian nation and state. Ukraine has its own history, and Ukrainians have the right to their national identity and independence, which we are ready to continue defending.

6. The assertion that the so-called 'special military operation' is a sacred war contradicts basic principles of Christian morality, especially in the context of armed aggression using violence.

From the perspective of the Gospel, military actions cannot be justified as 'sacred', and such words cannot be uttered by people calling themselves clergymen.

7. Statements that after the end of the so-called 'special military operation', the entire territory of Ukraine should enter the zone of exclusive influence of Russia constitute a direct call for the violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

8. It should also be reminded that the Holy Scripture prohibits the annexation of neighboring territory: 'Do not move your neighbor's boundary stone set up by your predecessors in the inheritance you receive in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess' (Deuteronomy 19:14), and 'Cursed is anyone who moves their neighbor's boundary stone' (Deuteronomy 27:17). Other passages from the Holy Scripture also testify to this (Proverbs 22:28, Hosea 5:10, Acts 17:26).

9. It should be added that the Social Concept of the ROC itself testifies that:

'Clergy cannot assist the state, collaborate with it in conducting civil war or aggressive external war' (III. 8. 2. b).

'The Church also opposes the propaganda of war and violence, as well as other manifestations of hatred capable of provoking fratricidal conflicts' (VIII. 5).

10. Instead of ideological support, justification of military aggression, and intervention by Russia in Ukraine, we believe that the Russian Orthodox Church should raise its voice against this predatory war. In our opinion, calls for the destruction of Ukraine and the justification of military aggression are incompatible with the Gospel teaching."

In conclusion, the Department for External Church Relations of the UOC stated that "the mentioned text contains an apology for violence, justification of violations of spiritual-moral and Gospel principles, which poses a threat to Ukrainian identity, as well as the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine."

"We believe that the ideas discussed above from the mentioned document cannot be supported by a religious organization claiming to be called Christian," the statement concluded.

Earlier, the UOJ reported that, according to lawyer Robert Amsterdam, the UOC is demanded to make changes to the ROC Statute.

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