Staunton, June 30 – In order to promote “the consolidation of the Ukrainian people,” the city council in the western Ukrainian city today banned the activities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, even though that church has declared itself independent of the Russian church.
This action is significant because it likely points to the way in which Ukrainian officials will deal with the UOC MP in the future, at the local rather than the country-wide level, an approach that will stay below the radar screens of many in Moscow and the West and attract less attention while achieving the same end (rusk.ru/newsdata.php?idar=115265).
It is as yet unclear whether the UOC MP churches in Lviv will seek to continue to operate either by appealing to the courts or going underground, but it is very likely that many parishioners there will choose to shift to the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is completely independent of Moscow.
The more ordinary believers do so, the more likely it is that this approach will define Ukraine’s way of handling a church that all too often in the past has blindly supported whatever Moscow wants, even though now it has denounced the invasion and sought to position itself as a Ukrainian denomination.
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