Staunton, August 27 -- Seventy of the 125 members of the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate say that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church should separate from the Moscow Patriarchate and form on the territory of that country a single autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The survey, which was conducted on an anonymous basis by Metropolitan Sofroniy of Cherkassk and Kanyev, is the latest indication the Moscow Patriarchate’s position in Ukraine is disintegrating (cherkasy-orthodox.com.ua/index.php/the-news/1602-2014-08-25-12-47-07; ruskline.ru/news_rl/2014/08/27/cherkasskaya_eparhiya_ukrainskoj_pravoslavnoj_cerkvi_gotova_ujti_v_raskol/).
The priests also said that they wanted to end the hitherto required custom of praying for the health of Moscow Patriarch Kirill during church services, a change that Metropolitan Sofroniy said he would approve. These expressions of Orthodox opinion came during a session when the metropolitan reported on the election of the new head of the UOC MP.
The session generated what the eparchate’s news site said was “a lively discussion,” but the direction that the majority of its clergy is moving was indicated by the references on the site to “the military aggression of Russia” in eastern Ukraine and “the unending armed provocations [by Russia], its massive shootings and support for separatist forces.”