In an unprecedented move, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church leadership says prayers for the current government will no longer be included in the liturgy.
Instead the denomination’s ruling body, known as the Holy Synod, advised believers to ask God to protect Ukraine and its people, and to pray [for] the many victims.
And from Euromaidan in English – Site of the Official English-language Public Relations Secretariat for the Headquarters of the National Resistance in Kyiv, Ukraine, this:
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate on February 20 issued a decision to stop the remembrance of those in power during worships.
“Taking into account that the repeated calls of the Church not to use weapons against people, who elected them to serve people and Ukraine, but not for violence and murder were not heard by the State authorities, it was decided not to mention those in power during services” starting from February 20, 2014 said the statement.
In addition, the clericals appealed to the authorities to stop using weapons against the people immediately. Now the church, in spite of the Scripture and the Constitution of Ukraine, which imply the necessity to pray for those in power, will pray for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people .
The church also appeal to pray for the dead and wounded in clashes in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, also this:
Tetyana Derkatch, the religious publicist, initiates public petition to Metropolitan Volodymyr and the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) for the purpose of excommunication and anathematizing Viktor Yanukovych. She has announced the action on her Facebook page, http://risu.org.ua reports.
“The idea of excommunicating authorities and anathematizing them for their crimes, incompatible with even the slightest requirements for a Christian, is not new. This should be done when an especially high-ranking member of the Church sets a bad example for society by his or her inadequate response, which spells corruption for the whole society,” – Tetyana Derkatch explains.
The publicist advises everyone who agrees with this initiative to put a cross under her post.
“It is better to cut off the seducing hand than to lose the whole body,” – she notes.
Tetyana admits that it was not uncommon in the past for the Church to punish highly-placed parishioners.
“Somewhat similar events happened to the emperor Theodosius and Ambrose, bishop of Milan. It seems even more reasonable in circumstances where the leadership is no longer considered to be a sacred gift from the Lord. The President of Ukraine is not the Byzantine emperor. He is a parishioner of the particular Church. He does not only take the desired benefits of power, rather he also takes responsibility for its spiritual condition.”
“For example, an excommunicated person is no longer welcome to visit Mount Athos to pray for forgiveness,” – Tetyana states.
On her opinion, excommunicating Yanukovych will suspend the conflict between the people and the government.
“If the Church wants to contribute to the settlement of institutional conflict in Ukraine caused entirely by its parishioners, it must use all available means to influence them, and not only appeal to someone unnamed for peace and nonviolence. Otherwise it must not be surprised, if its voice is never heard,” the religious publicist summarizes.