US State Secretary Mike Pompeo’s recent call to the “the main schismatic of the Ukrainian Orthodox church” is an unprecedented incident which can be characterized as meddling in the church affairs in Ukraine, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced last Saturday the creation of an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church following a “unification council” held in Kiev, at which Metropolitan Epiphanius Dumenko was elected head of the “autocephalous church.” On Wednesday, the US State Department said Pompeo called Metropolitan Epiphanius, expressing the United States’ support for religious freedom and Ukrainian sovereignty.
“For example, look at the call of US State Secretary to the main schismatic of the Ukrainian Orthodox church two days ago. The history of global diplomacy has seen no such cases before. This is an unprecedented case. I mean this political and diplomatic interference in the relations between churches,” Peskov told Russia’s Channel One.
The Moscow Patriarchate has described the situation with the Ukrainian autocephalous church as the “legalization of schism,” stressing that it would have catastrophic consequences and affect millions of Christians in Ukraine and other countries.