This article discusses the damaging impact of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate on Ukrainian society. It explores how this institution has spread chauvinistic and xenophobic ideas, which have been even more effective than Soviet propaganda in dividing Ukrainian believers. The article also highlights the church’s imperialist agenda, which seeks to restore Russia’s dominance over Ukraine. Finally, it examines the Moscow Patriarchate’s role in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine and how it has worked to legitimize its occupation of Ukrainian territory.

The destructive influence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate

One of the narratives currently being promoted by the defenders of the Moscow Patriarchate is based on the claim that not all members of the UOC MP should be held responsible for their leadership’s cooperation with the FSB. There are good people among them, as well as those who fight for Ukraine, and there are pious individuals…

However, they forget that for over 30 years this structure has caused a rift in Ukrainian society with its chauvinistic and xenophobic ideas. UOC MP believers have been brainwashed for years, and this brainwashing has been more effective and destructive than Soviet propaganda.

The pseudo-eschatological expectations that are now infecting the followers of the UOC MP did not arise today or yesterday. Behind all these “second comings,” “imminent apocalypses,” and “Satanism of the schismatics” was a single specific political idea that was instilled in the heads of Ukrainian believers of the Moscow Patriarchate: the necessity of restoring imperial Russia, where Orthodoxy is the exclusive domain of the “Russian cultural type.”

In 1992, when the newly-formed leadership of the UOC MP, with the help of political pressure from the Kremlin on Kyiv, seized the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, a council was held on June 26 in the Refectory Church of the monastery. A statement was adopted at the council to transfer all buildings that had been “seized by hired (!) non-church groups” to the Moscow Church. This was the beginning of the real occupation of Ukraine by Russia – through the appropriation of churches and territories in all its regions. This included – attention! – 12,000 communities. The current war is just a bloody attempt to legalize what was seized over 30 years.

All of this real special operation of the UOC MP to deceive “good simple believers” was wrapped up in a mixture of quasi-religious delusions, sprinkled with anti-Ukrainian and anti-Western attitudes. Since 1992, the UOC MP has been the main imperial propaganda mouthpiece for the Kremlin.

For example, at the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra there was a publishing house called “Svet Pechersky”. In the early 90s, they published a collection entitled “Orthodoxy, the State and the Antichrist Era”. It explicitly stated that “the Homeland is perishing (Russia), the enemy with all truths and lies is plundering and enslaving our Homeland.” And, as the publishers of the UOC MP claimed, Muscovy is perishing due to “the heresy of the Judaizers”, due to the “Western world”, which is “completely controlled by the system of evil”, against which the banner of the struggle for “Orthodox autocracy” must be raised. Of course, in this struggle, the exceptional messianic mission was given to the ROC, because allegedly only it “contains the fullness of the revealed truth of God”. Then this political madness was broadcasted and printed through various “Pochaiv”, “Athonite” and similar leaflets and newspapers.

If anyone thinks that these imperial ideas have passed for “good believers” of the UOC MP without consequences, then listen to what they were saying on March 29 in the Lavra and what arguments they were using.

Therefore, the best way to decode them is the one that the authorities have chosen today: to eliminate the centers of influence and brainwashing. The first step is to remove the administrative bodies of the UOC MP from the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.

Author: Yaroslav Kotsiuba