Kiev, December 15, Interfax - The Ukrainian Orthodox Church's Diocese of Polesye and Sarny has denied reports claiming that its head, Bishop Anatoly, called on believers to participate in the so-called unifying assembly.
"The press service of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church's Diocese of Sarny reports that a fake address of the head of the diocese of Sarny is circulating [...] and is being displayed on the Internet concerning the unifying assembly, alleging that His Grace calls on the clergy and the believers to participate in the establishment of a 'local church,'" the press service for the diocese said in a statement.
In this regard, the press service for the diocese of Sarny said that no such addresses have been made.
"We believe that at present the Turkish Patriarch of Constantinople has deceived the people of Ukraine and the state, by refraining from granting a complete autocephaly and the status of patriarchy for the so-called 'local church', thus causing the distrust of the episcopacy, the clergy, and the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in this process," the Diocese of Sarny said.
The aforementioned fake news should be viewed as "a put-up job of the enemies" of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church aimed at "undermining the authority of the head and the clergy of the diocese of Sarny of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and deceiving the Ukrainian people," it said.
This October, the Rovno Region clergy, including the diocese of Sarny, was the first in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to voice its support to Metropolitan Onufry after the Patriarchate of Constantinople had announces its plans regarding Ukraine.
As reported, on Saturday, Kiev is to host the assembly, at which the Ukrainian authorities are planning to create a church, independent from Moscow, with support from Constantinople. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church refused to participate in it, calling into question the success of the entire endeavor.
In the past few weeks, the Ukrainian authorities have exerted pressure on the clergy of the canonical church by means of summonses for questioning, searches and initiating a criminal case on "incitement to enmity."