Ukrainian Church Faces Obscure Pro-Russia Revolt in Its Own Ranks
In a zealously nationalist region of Ukraine that clamors to join Europe and bubbles with suspicion toward Russia, Father Andriy, a preacher at Our Lady of Everlasting Succor church, was defiantly out of step with the mood of his flock.
The European Union, he explained after a Sunday service, is an “empire of evil” committed to defying the word of God and to spreading homosexuality and pedophilia. As for antigovernment protesters who toppled President Viktor F. Yanukovych and are praised as heroes in this western corner of Ukraine, the priest sees only “Godless deviants” and “fools” who are “in the pay of hostile foreign powers.”
Such views, espoused by a small but noisy group of fundamentalist Catholic clerics in western Ukraine, are commonplace among the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church and its Ukrainian affiliate, whose Moscow-based patriarch is a firm ally of President Vladimir V. Putin.