Moscow, December 26, Interfax - The change of the name of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on which the Kiev authorities are insisting will inevitably trigger a massive campaign for expropriating its churches, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said.
"After the Ukrainian parliament's decision requiring that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's name must be changed, these changes will certainly be followed by repressions. And it is absolutely obvious that there is some ultimatum: if the church doesn't change its name, its registration will be annulled, but if the church does change its name, this will prompt very strong pressure, primarily on the people, on the public. Definitely, forcible actions will begin to expropriate churches," Patriarch Kirill said in reviewing the outcomes of the outgoing year at a Supreme Church Council meeting in Moscow on Wednesday.
The people in Ukraine are "strong in their faith, they are emotional people, and, certainly, there is the danger that everything that might happen around churches might prompt bloody conflicts," Patriarch Kirill said.
He called for praying for "preserving peace on brotherly Ukrainian soil" and for preserving the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.