The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP) has said that its support for Viktor Yanukovych in the presidential election of 2004 was a mistake, the then U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor wrote in a dispatch to the U.S. State Department on January 9, 2009, the Ukrainska Pravda Web site reported on Thursday with reference to WikiLeaks.
According to Taylor, the chairman of the department of external church relations, Archimandrite Kirill (Hovorun), said this at a meeting with a representative of the embassy.
"He acknowledged that the [church's] support for Yanukovych in the presidential election in 2004 was a mistake, and stressed the independence of the Ukrainian branch of the Russian Orthodox Church. Archimandrite Kirill noted that since 2004, the church has not been involved in politics. He also noted that the UOC MP publicly condemned a pro-Russian informal Orthodox group that made political statements," the ambassador said, according to Interfax-Ukraine.
According to Hovorun, in 2004 there was a risk of split in the Orthodox movement due to the efforts of Ukraine's third president (2005-2010) Viktor Yuschenko to achieve the recognition for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
Subsequently, Yuschenko also caused a crisis within the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate.
"Hovorun said that the participation of President Viktor Yuschenko in the celebration of the 1020th anniversary of Christianization of Kyivan Rus in July 2008 nearly caused a split within the UOC MP," the Web site quoted the former U.S. ambassador as saying.
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