Kiev, July 28, Interfax - Ukrainians should strength unity, spiritual freedom, and an independent European Ukraine, the country's former president and now parliamentarian Pyotr Poroshenko said on the anniversary of the Christianization of Kievan Rus.
"[Grand Prince of Kiev] Vladimir's choice was civilizational as well as religious. Almost the whole of Europe was Christian at the time. And under his son Yaroslav, Kiev became the center of a strong European power well-integrated into the then political and cultural processes across the continent," Poroshenko was quoted by his European Solidarity party as saying.
"Of the dozens of politically motivated cases" opened against Poroshenko, he said there is one of which he is particularly proud: "This is the Tomos case, which granted independence to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine [OCU]."
"And that's not all. There are now people who hold key positions in the presidential administration openly lobbying the Russian Church's interests in Ukraine," Poroshenko said.
He said the current government has disregarded the law which granted communities the right to switch freely to the OCU.
"But no one will be able to freeze the blossoming of our Church anymore and its recognition by the other Orthodox Churches. The OCU is developing and growing. Its authority among Ukrainians is strengthening. There's no stopping this logical historical process. Let alone reversing it. This achievement of ours is irreversible," Poroshenko said.
On October 11, 2018, the Synod in Istanbul overturned its 300-year-old decree handing over the Kiev Mitropolitanate to Moscow. Instead, it announced the creation of its own metochion in Kiev and rehabilitated Ukrainian non-canonical church leaders. The Moscow Patriarchate responded by severing ties with the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
On January 5, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople signed a tomos of autocephaly for the new OCU, founded by archbishops on December 15.
The OCU was created from the non-canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, but soon afterward, the leader of the biggest of them, Filaret Denisenko, quit the OCU along with his supporters.
In an interview with the Apostrophe news outlet, he promised that the Kiev Patriarchate's Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC KP) would be waiting for "the time when the Ukrainian Church has received the real tomos of autocephaly."
Meanwhile, the national State Bureau of Investigations has said that it has opened a "factual" case after UOC KP parishioners complained about high-ranking government officials inciting ethnic hatred during the creation of the OCU.
Poroshenko himself admitted earlier that he is the subject of an inquiry into inciting religious hatred for having secured the tomos for the OCU.