The President voiced unifying ideas close to the UOC, and I’d like authorities to find the strength and opportunities to implement them, said Fr Nikolai Danilevich.
The speech of the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky, which he delivered on Independence Day, contains a message of the internal unity of Ukrainian society, wrote the spokesperson for the UOC Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich on his TG channel.
According to the clergyman, “it is clear that the President and his team are trying to return to the country the ideology of internal unity, inclusiveness, and get out of the patterns of the extreme right ideology that prevailed in our country under the previous head of state”.
First, the UOC spokesperson explained, the President appealed to all citizens of Ukraine, “so that we finally understand that the Ukrainian people are Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, Karaites, Krymchaks, Russians, Belarusians, Moldovans, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Romanians, Poles .. And we are all citizens of Ukraine. The national team of Ukraine. One team (a quote from Vladimir Zelensky’s speech – Ed.)”. Thus, he emphasized that our country is multi-ethnic, and there should be no division into “Ukrainians” and “non-Ukrainians”, “patriots” and “vatniks”, the “right” and the “wrong” ones.
Zelensky tried to distance himself from everything that divides and avoided extremes, the clergyman said. When he spoke about the contributions of different regions of the country to our common state life, he did not mention not only Viktor Yanukovich but also Petro Poroshenko who attended the event. And in the speeches of high-ranking officials, one should pay attention not only to what is said but also to what or whom it is not said about, says Father Nikolai.
“Why he didn’t remember Yanukovich is understandable. But Poroshenko wasn’t mentioned either, in my opinion, because he also personifies another – extreme right-wing ideology. <...> It is felt that the President is trying to look for those ideological things that contribute to the formation of all-Ukrainian unity and avoid those that do not contribute to this,” the priest explained.
The spokesperson for the UOC also noted that it was pleasant to hear from the President about the Christian roots of our country.
“Unfortunately, there is no unity in the church sphere today. Therefore, the President, remembering Christianity in general, did not speak about any Church or denomination separately. Neither the Tomos, nor the OCU, nor Constantinople, despite the fact that Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople stood on the Maidan among the invited guests… There was only a hint from the President of the need for interfaith peace, as well as the need to take care of unity in diversity, in the place where it was said: “Without the Lavra and Sophia, the St. Nicholas Church and the St. George Cathedral, the Khan’s mosque in Bakhchisarai and the synagogue in Dnipro Ukraine is not so multifaceted,” he added.
The clergyman stressed that caring for the unity of the country is the task of every head of state, and in the case of Ukraine, the President must unite or, at least, maintain a balance between different forces in the country with his words and actions.
“As a citizen of Ukraine I am close to these unifying ideas that were voiced today by the President. These ideas are close to our Church as well, because the UOC has expressed exactly the same ideas before. I would like our government not only to declare but also to actually have the strength and ability to implement them. And we will support it in this,” summed up Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich and congratulated everyone on Independence Day, wishing that we all try to hear, understand and respect each other, and “thereby build unity, a peaceful and prosperous common life of our country”.
As reported, the traditional “Blessing of Ukraine” at the Sophia of Kyiv, held annually on Independence Day, took place without the participation of the head of the Phanar: this was the position and condition of the UOC.