Kiev, September 26, Interfax - The statements by the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church urging the exarchs of the Constantinople Patriarchate to leave Ukraine look like attempts to artificially stir up a conflict, the Ukrainian Culture Ministry said.
"The categorical and intolerant statements by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), which contradict Ukrainian traditions, look like an attempt to artificially stir up a conflict, instead of peaceful dialogue, and condoning with the desperate attempts of the Russian aggressor to obstruct free formation of a single local Orthodox church in Ukraine," the ministry's press service said.
Attempts by members of the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to obstruct the activities of representatives of other churches, in particular, the exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, are unacceptable, the ministry said.
"Neither Ukrainian legislation nor the traditions of inter-church relations in Ukraine envisage the right of bodies of one Church to dictate their will to another Church or its representatives," the press service said.
"The European principle of interreligious relations based on the principles of religious diversity will always work in Ukraine. Nobody [...] has the right to dictate their will to other structures or religious organizations in an open society, let alone be aggressive towards the activities of representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople - the Church, whose first hierarchs blessed the creation of the Kiev Metropolitanate and its branches, now known as the Russian Orthodox Church," the press service said.
According to earlier reports, the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on Tuesday called on Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to stop interfering in the internal affairs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.