“The Greek Catholic Church has been accused of being responsible for the unrest in the East of Ukraine by the Moscow Patriarchate, and this is not correct at all,” Father Hovorun, a one-time spokesman for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate. "I think this is an attempt to remove some responsibility from the Russian politicians and to move it to the Greek Catholic Church and make it a scapegoat."
But although some individual priests of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church may have made comments along the way that may have been too political or even inflammatory, this gave Moscow an excuse to accuse the Greek Catholic Church, he said. Greek Catholic priests were “among the people” at Maidan, as were representatives of other confessions. “It was not a Greek Catholic event, it was an ecumenical event,” Father Hovorun said.
The conflict with Russia is having other ramifications, as well, as noted recently by Forum 18. Priests and religious from Ukraine and other countries who are working in Crimea are finding that their residence permits will not be renewed after Jan. 1. Many parishes of the Roman Catholic, Ukrainian Greek Catholic, and non-canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Churches may be forced to close. Turkish imams also will have to leave the region.
"Catholic appeals to the authorities against this have not been heeded," the Forum 18 news service report said.
This is the third and last in a series of articles about Ukraine one year after the beginning of "The Revolution of Dignity." The first two parts can be read here and here.
John Burger is news editor for Aleteia’s English edition.