Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Thursday he will not allow Russia to instigate a "religious war" after the Ukrainian Orthodox Church gained independence this week from the Moscow Patriarchate.
"We will not allow the Kremlin to instigate a religious war inside our country," Poroshenko told reporters at the Sofia Square, where the patriarch of Kiev, Filaret, will officiate a mass of thanksgiving.
Poroshenko was pleased that this week the Universal Patriarchate of Constantinople put an end to "the Moscow annexation of the Patriarchate of Kiev dating from the late seventeenth century" (1686).
"Ukraine was not, is not and will not be canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church" (IOR), he proclaimed, according to local media.
He stressed that the question of "tomos" (decree) that nullified the subordination of the Ukrainian church to Moscow and the granting of autocephaly to the Kiev Patriarchate are matters "that go beyond the borders of ecclesial life".
"It is a matter of national security, it is a question of world geopolitics, and if that is not the case, why then did the decision of the Universal Patriarchate be dealt with in the Security Council of Russia chaired by (Russian President Vladimir Putin)? ? ", he stressed.
He acknowledged that autocephaly, which Poroshenko himself requested last April in Parliament, is part of a pro-European strategy.
"Autocephaly is an event of similar importance to the aspiration to join the European Union and NATO, the Association Agreement (with the EU), the visa-free regime, the departure from the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). , the renunciation of the deceitful friendship agreement with Russia, all these are the pillars of the development of our Ukrainian nation, "he stressed.
At the same time, he assured that the new unified church will not be a "state church" and that the authorities will defend the "freedom of choice of each believer", including "those who decide to continue in the structure that retains unity with the IOR. "
"It is your decision and you have to respect it." The construction of an independent church can not be grounds for division, for antagonism, for violence, "he stressed and insisted that the Government will not interfere in the life of the Church.
Filaret, 89, said that the Patriarchate of Kiev does not want any "confrontation" with Moscow and after approving the convocation of a council of unity stressed that this process "must proceed in a voluntary, peaceful and without impositions "
The Russian patriarch, Kiril, accused the Ukrainian political leaders of being the culprits of dividing both churches, but predicted that they will fail.
"We believe that the gates of hell will not defeat the Church, we believe that no secular force that seeks to destroy the Church will succeed," he said.
In addition, he called the faithful to pray because at the Synod that the IOR will hold on Monday in Minsk, in which it could break relations with Constantinople, a decision will be adopted to prevent possible attacks or persecutions against the religious and faithful loyal to Moscow.