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    BRAMA News and Community Press

    BRAMA, May 5, 2005, 1:00 pm ET

    Press release

    UAOC comments on latest statement of Russian Orthodox Church

    The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church of North and South America (UAOC) expressed disappointment over the latest comments by the Russian Orthodox Church regarding the future of Ukrainian spirituality.

    On 25 April 2005, Patriarch Alexis II of the Moscow Patriarchate said, "The residents of Ukraine do not want their country to become [a] field of discord for the Moscow and Constantinople Patriarchates."

    According to Bishop Paul Peter Jesep, the UAOC's Syncellus of Public Affairs and Government Relations, "If non-UKrainians don't interfere then there won't be discord. Patriarch Alexis II need not worry about the spiritual direction of Europe's second largest, sovereign nation. This obnoxious big brother concern needs to end. There are Ukrainian religious leaders quite capable of providing spiritual direction. Patriarch Alexis II should be more concerned about the erosion of liberty and democratic freedoms in his own country."

    "It will be a long time before attitudes about Ukraine change," added Bishop Jesep, "Hence it is important that Ukrainians understand that they need not ask anyone's permission to walk with God in the manner they think best. Nor should Ukrainians walk away from one controlling entity to symbolically submit to another, even if that Shepard appears responsive to the long, tragic history of Ukraine."

    Bishop Jesep said "there is only one 'canonical' church. It is created when a sovereign people have the confidence to answer directly to God without thinking that the approval of someone else is required. No one need be a conduit between Ukraine's Orthodox faithful and the Almighty. The New Testament does not require it. To think otherwise is schismatic and a great affront to the Creator. God knows the Ukrainian faithful completely and fully as they are and no introduction is needed."

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