Moscow, November 8, Interfax - The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) of the Moscow Patriarchate has described as "absurd" the remarks by President Pyotr Poroshenko that Russian Orthodox Church has nothing to do in Ukraine.
"A completely absurd, ludicrous statement. The Ukrainian constitution guarantees protection to the church, especially to the one born in present-day Ukraine, which has existed here for a thousand years, raised our people and, as a matter of fact, through its Metropolitan Agafangel of Vinnitsa, blessed the birth of the independent Ukrainian state in 1991," UOC spokesperson Vasily Anisimov told Interfax.
It was reported that at an international conference in Kiev on Wednesday Poroshenko "cited" the Russian head of state who supposedly said that Russia stands on two pillars: the church and nuclear weapons.
"Is it normal when the Kremlin urgently convenes a Russian Security Council [meeting] chaired by Putin with one question on the agenda: how to protect the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine?" Poroshenko asked, before replying himself: "My dear, you have nothing to do here. Your church, your armed forces, your weapons have nothing to do here. Go home, to Russia."
Meanwhile, the UOC thinks it "absolutely normal" that the issue of protection for the Russian Orthodox Church was considered by the Russian Security Council.
"The Russian Orthodox Church, which was born in Kiev and has spread to farthest seas, must be protected by the authorities of every country where it has parishes because it consists of citizens of those countries," Anisimov said.
The UOC is centuries older than the Ukrainian state: "Our state is 27 years old, the president is only its fifth, whereas the Metropolitan of Kiev is the 152nd - appreciate the difference!"