BRAMA, June 11, 2009, 9:00 AM ET|
Orthodox Church condemns anti-semitism of former member of Parliament
The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) Kyiv Patriarchate (KP) in the Diaspora condemned recent remarks by Sergey Kirichenko, member of the Kherson Regional Legislature and former deputy in the Ukrainian national parliament, for threatening and attempting to dehumanize Ukraine's Jewish citizens.
In a recent interview Kirichenko said that he would "prefer that a just transfer of power from Jews to non-Jews in Ukraine take place in a civilized and peaceful way. Resisting this natural process would only incite tough consequences, examples of which there are plenty of in history." He added that "Jews are occupiers, they have occupied us, they have stolen our wealth and they control us. ... They create the circumstances under which the genocide of Slavs is made possible."
"These remarks are ugly, hateful, ignorant, and have no factual basis," said Bishop Paul Peter Jesep of the UAOC-KP Diaspora. "Mr. Kirichenko is playing on people's fears during economic uncertainty. This is demagoguery at its worse." According to Bishop Jesep, the UAOC's U.S. Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations by Appointment of His Beatitude Metropolitan Myfodii, "Civilized Ukrainians and those of genuine faith in a loving Creator should be outraged that his remarks demean innocent people equally loved by the same God. If such behavior goes unchallenged then Ukraine will be alienated from democratic Europe."
Bishop Jesep added, "More important if these comments go unchecked then Ukraine turns its back on God. People like Mr. Kirichenko should be forced to tour Nazi death camps and learn about the Holocaust and the injustice that is anti-Semitism. Crimes against Jewish sisters and brothers are crimes against all of us and we must act as one family to stop them. God expects nothing less."
The UAOC is Ukraine's third largest Orthodox Church with parishes in Western Europe and North and South America. In December 2008, the Governor of New York issued a Citation recognizing the important contributions of the UAOC in furthering democracy and fighting for social justice.
Bishop Paul Peter Jesep
By Appointment of His Beatitude
Metropolitan Myfodii of Kyiv and All Ukraine
Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations in the United States
Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church
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