Kyiv, 13 March 2014 – Speaking at the press briefing at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center, His Holiness the Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine Filaret said: “We think that Russian has taken the path of lies. We are uncovering the lies of the Kremlin officials: the whole world knows that Russian soldiers in Crimea have taken off their insignia. The church needs to point out the lies, especially considering that they are being told by orthodox Christians. The Russian Orthodox Church should have been the first to stop the Russian government. I am asking the Russian church: ‘are you with God or are you with the government?’ If you are with the government and its lawlessness then you are not with God.”
“In Crimea, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate has about 30 parishes and they are in a very hard situation. According to archbishop Klyment, some members of our parishes have already been abducted because they stand against Crimea’s secession from Ukraine. We have been informed that after the referendum is held and Crimea declares itself a Russian territory, even the Crimean Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate will be separated and subordinated directly to the Most Holy Governing Synod in Moscow. As regards the fate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate, we expect it to be completely forbidden’, said the Patriarch.
Commenting the creation of a Ukrainian Unified Local Orthodox Church, Filaret said: “We have set up a commission comprising the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv and Moscow Patriarchates, and we have agreed to begin a dialog. But we do not want this question to be decided only at the top, the unification process should start from at bottom. We therefore urge the clergy at both sides to discuss the following three issues: the support of Ukraine’s integrity, the support of European integration (which is more than merely a political issue) and the creation of a Unified Local Orthodox Church, autocephalous and independent from Moscow”, said Filaret.
“Our church has supported Maidan because it stands on the ground of morality. The people stepped forward against the lies and deception of the government which had not signed the Association Agreement despite spending a year preparing people for its signing. When snipers shot at people at Maidan, the church stopped praying for the government and then the government fled. Now we are facing an even bigger trouble – Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the occupation of Crimea. This is an act of immoral behavior by the Kremlin officials because Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons while Russia, USA and Great Britain were to guarantee Ukraine’s territorial integrity”, said Filaret.
Speaking on the language issue, Patriarch Filaret said: “This is not a problem in Ukraine. Russian is spoken by anyone who wants to, anywhere they like. Take a look at the Ukrainian Parliament or the Government, or the people of Donbas or Crimea, for example. No one is persecuted for language reasons anywhere. Russian is the official language in Russia even though it is populated by millions of Ukrainians and Chinese. Why is there no language problem in Russia while it is being raised in Ukraine?”
His Holiness the Patriarch of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine Filaret is the Ukrainian orthodox Archiereus, the second primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate.