Press Release – July 17, 2023
For Immediate Release
Media support for putin’s war and false narratives on the religious situation in ukraine
The Orthodox Public Affairs Committee (OPAC) expresses its deep concern over media personalities, like Tucker Carlson, who continue to spout Russian propaganda about so-called persecution of Christians in Ukraine. Carlson, who has little or no understanding of the complexities of the religious reality of Ukraine, only forments more division with his nonsensical statements as he did in an interview with former Vice-President Mike Pence at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa over the weekend.
The truth is, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) under Metropolitan Ounufry, has separated itself from the Moscow Patriarchate, but still had over one million souls in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine. This difficulty is further complicated by the fact that the Kyiv Caves Monastery is central to Ukrainian Orthodox identity. The house arrest of the UOC Abbot of the Monastery, Metropolitan Pavel, and the subsequent expulsion of the UOC clergy and monastics from the Monastery occurred because of security concerns over the suspicion that some UOC clergy might be a Russian “fifth column” in Ukraine.
OPAC in no way condones religious persecution of any group, but acknowledges that until the UOC situation is resolved in some canonical way and integrated with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), there will be inevitable and occasionally unfortunate repercussions. The complicity of the Moscow Patriarchate’s leadership in the war crimes being perpetrated in Ukraine remains deeply hurtful and divisive. It is clear that this leadership is under the total control of Putin and his henchmen.
OPAC calls for the Ecumenical Patriarchate to take the lead and facilitate unification talks between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) under Metropolitan Onufry and the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), under Metropolitan Epiphaniy. Such a union would not only establish a unified national identity for the Orthodox Church in the country, but it would give the UOC canonical standing, since their separation from the Moscow Patriarchate in May of 2022.
OPAC, in addition to its demand for the immediate cessation of hostilities and the complete withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine, insists on punitory measures including trials for war crimes for all who have prosecuted this unjust and horrific war.
Truth Lives in Light!
Media Contact: Info@OrthodoxPac.org