January 10, 2023

It's My Church Now


It's My Church Now
Epiphanius I (center left) at Christmas Liturgy in the Assumption Cathedral, January 7, 2023. NV, Youtube

On January 7, Epiphanius I, the Primate of Kyiv and All of Ukraine, conducted Christmas Liturgy in the Assumption Cathedral in Kyiv, traditionally used by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP).

The Assumption Cathedral was destroyed by the Soviets during World War II and rebuilt in the late nineties. After being consecrated again in 2000, the building was leased by the UOC-MP from its owner, the Ukrainian state. Even after breaking away from the Moscow Patriarchate in 2019, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) didn't have access to the building until recently, after tensions with Moscow reached a head.

At the end of 2022, the UOC-MP's lease expired for the two largest churches in Ukraine's spiritual hub, Assumption Cathedral and the Refectory Church in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. The Ukrainian State refused to renew the contract. The UOC-MP vicar of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra wrote a letter to President Volodymyr Zelensky, asking him to reconsider the decision, but the request was refused.

Ukrainian authorities have been investigating the ties between the UOC-MP and Moscow after finding pro-Russian government literature and symbols in many churches and monasteries. The future of the UOC-MP in Ukraine remains uncertain, as government officials claim that religious organizations affiliated with Russia should not operate in the country.

 

 

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