Staunton, April 24 – In response to Moscow’s aggression against their country, Ukrainian Orthodox have been transferring their allegiance from the Moscow Patriarchate to Ukrainian churches. That perhaps surprises no one. But Moscow’s actions in Ukraine are prompting Orthodox elsewhere to leave Moscow Patriarchate churches for others.
Vira Konyk, head of the Ukrainian Congress of Estonia, says that in Estonia, “people have stopped going to the Eastern Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate” and are affiliating instead with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church parish in Tallinn (risu.org.ua/en/index/all_news/ukraine_and_world/ukrainians_outside_of_Ukraine/59781/).
She said that “not only Ukrainians but Estonians and people of other nationalities” are making this shift and that people who live outside of Tallinn are travelling to the Estonian capital for UGCC services both to avoid pro-Moscow propaganda in the Moscow Patriarchate churches and to show their support for Ukraine.
Many people have speculated that the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine will collapse because of the Russian government’s invasion of that country means to Ukrainians and noted that if the Moscow Patriarchate loses is Ukrainian parishes and bishoprics, it will lose almost half of its church structure and much of its income.
But if what is taking place in Ukraine occurs elsewhere as such reports suggest may be the case, the Moscow Patriarchate will not only lose membership and money but also much of the basis for the argument it currently makes that it can help the Kremlin advance Russia’s foreign policy goals.