Home World The patriarch of Kiev: “Kirill is a politician in religious clothes, Putin must retire”

The patriarch of Kiev: “Kirill is a politician in religious clothes, Putin must retire”

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The patriarch of Kiev: “Kirill is a politician in religious clothes, Putin must retire”

He was the bet: a young archbishop, son of the Majdan revolution, at the head of a new autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox church and finally disconnected from the patriarchate of Moscow. It was 2018. The 39-year-old Sergij Petrovy? Dumenko had become metropolitan with the name of Epiphanius: “This is a church without Putin. A church without Kirill,” said the then president Petro Poroshenko. But the schism was not complete. The Ukrainian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, led by Onofrio, remained to govern the souls of the pro-Russians.

His Beatitude Epiphanius, on Friday the Church of Onofrio also distanced itself from the Russian patriarch Kirill. Do you trust me? Will you reunite?

“They did not distance themselves from Kirill to the extent that circumstances would have required. They just said they” disagreed “with his statements and actions, without explaining the consequences. Also, not a word was said about what. so far, it seems rather the attempt of a formal gesture to appease the dissatisfied, in a situation where the authority of Kirill and the Moscow Patriarchate has fallen dramatically. It should be clear that there is a Ukrainian Church and there is a Russian Church in Ukraine. Until the latter decides that it must not be subordinate to Moscow in any way, how can we unite? Should we subordinate ourselves to Moscow by reuniting?

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Will the division therefore remain even after the war?

“The motto of all empires is divide et impera. Russia has done and is doing everything to divide Ukraine, even in religious life. Do you know why she is opposed to the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church? Because she does not want to lose her own. influence over our people, which it has through the Church, and does not want to lose more than a third of its entire infrastructure. Without control over the Church in Ukraine the Moscow Patriarchate becomes much smaller. But now Ukrainian believers are more aware than for the Russia, the Church is only a tool to achieve a political goal. In March, after only one month of open war, according to sociologists, support for the Russian Church in Ukraine had decreased from 15% to 4%, and that for the Orthodox Church of the Ukraine had increased from 38% to 52%. Ukraine is a democratic country, like Italy and other European countries, and we respect freedom of faith: I think a Moscow Patriarchate structure will continue to exist in Ukraine ina, but with very few believers it will have no influence on society: it will no longer be interesting, for the Kremlin, as an instrument of politics “.

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With the war mired in the Donbass and that first “success” that can be claimed by the Russians, the defeat of the Azov Regiment in Mariupol, are there the conditions for a truce, for peace?
“Peace, truce and ceasefire must be very distinct concepts. The Russians during more than eight years of war against Ukraine have demonstrated with actions that their goal is not peace, but the conquest of Ukraine. A conquest. political and, if possible, military. The occupation “.

What else must we wait, then, for peace?

“It would be very easy to achieve peace even now: Russia simply has to fulfill its obligations under international agreements, stop the bombing and killings, withdraw troops from the territory of Ukraine beyond the limits it has committed itself to respect. in writing, to return to a civilized way of resolving disputes: through diplomacy. But the question is: Do Putin or Lavrov want this? No, they don’t want it. Therefore the world must continue to fight Russian aggression until it will stop, and as long as Russia agrees to resolve the problems peacefully. “

But a lot of blood has already been spilled, isn’t it time for a truce?

“How many times has a truce been declared in more than eight years of Russian war? Tens, if not hundreds. Russia has never respected its terms. The truce should have one goal, that of achieving peace as I said before,” and it must have effective guarantees. Russia must pay a high price for violating the agreements, so it will be forced to abide by them. The price is, for example, further sanctions. Hoping for the goodwill of the Kremlin makes no sense. “

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Between marbles and icons Putin renews the pact with Patriarch Kirill

by our correspondent Rosalba Castelletti

April 24, 2022


You mentioned three hypotheses: is a “ceasefire” at least possible?

“It is necessary. It is necessary to organize the evacuation of civilians through the so-called humanitarian corridors. On the part of Ukraine, the proposals for the corridors are almost daily, but Russia often rejects them or violates the agreements reached.”

How do you judge Pope Francis’ request to go to Moscow instead of Kiev?

“We are grateful to the Pope and the Catholic Church for their efforts for peace, for their prayers for it, for humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. I don’t think I can give advice to the Pope on diplomacy; but in my opinion if the Vatican it has no serious leverage – which we are not aware of – that can really change Putin’s point of view, there is no reason to hope that a personal conversation in the Kremlin will change anything. Putin will only use it to increase his own credibility. . And if the dictator of Russia had truly respected the Pope’s opinion, he would have spoken to him in the early days of the invasion when Francis personally went to the Russian embassy. Has anything changed for the better since then? “

The West is thinking of sanctioning Kirill too: do you think it is a good idea?

“Although Kirill Gundyaev has religious rank, he is actually more of a Russian government official than a Christian pastor. He is personally a very wealthy man, not like the Pope or other religious leaders in Europe whose personal property is very modest. Kirill is both a Kremlin propagandist, one of the oligarchs, and a de facto official. The West imposes sanctions on all these categories of people to influence and counter the Kremlin’s aggressive policy. Kirill is identical to all already sanctioned propagandists, oligarchs and officials , the only difference is the suit: he wears religious clothes. He supports the war, publicly approves Putin’s actions, gives blessings to Russian troops for killing in Ukraine. Why should he avoid sanctions? “

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Did you speak to President Zelensky after February 24? What would you recommend?

“Of course, I told him that we pray for him, for our armed forces and for the government: we bless him because he protects Ukraine from enemies. In this struggle for truth and freedom, we will always support the Ukrainian people and him, as our President, you can count on the support of the Church in this noble cause. “

Would the wounded and angry Ukrainian people accept compromises on Crimea, the Donbass or the land corridor to Crimea?
“Is he proposing to make Ukraine an object of trade? To make our citizens, who currently live under occupation, objects of trade? Italy is ready to offer Putin Estonia or Lithuania in exchange for the promise not to attack Europe in the future? Or, instead of Crimea, to offer him Sicily? Could someone propose to the Italian people to share their territory and their fellow citizens for peace in Europe? “.

Do you think instead that this war can be won by someone?

“Ukraine has already won it: it has won morally. Since World War II, this is the first great war in the world in which all people of good will understand who is right and who is to blame, who is the aggressor and who the victim. And if our people have won morally, they will win on all fronts. As in World War II there were winners – those who defended truth, freedom, peace – so it should be in this war: democracy and freedom must prevail “.

What message do you entrust to the Ukrainian faithful?
“The truth is with us, and where there is truth there is God, and where God is there is victory. This is my appeal to the Ukrainian faithful: stand on the side of the truth, help each other and help Ukraine “.

And to the faithful Russian “brothers”?
“I want to wish them a revelation: the awareness of the criminal nature of the war waged by Russia and the courage to fight the dictatorship of Vladimir Putin”.
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