Jan 08, 2019

Crimean Tatars: Autocephaly Contributes to Ukraine’s Autonomy in Regards to Russia

MP Mustafa Dzhemilev, the former leader of Crimean Tatars, believes that the recent grant of autocephaly by the Ecumenical Patriarchate strengthens Ukraine both internally, and externally in relation to Russia. He further emphasised that given the significance of the church institution in Ukraine, the decision concerns all Ukrainians and not just Orthodox Christians. The recent developments are a culmination of a series of events since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Ukrainian independence. Previously, avoiding ostensive separation was employed as a tactic to prevent spoiling relations with Moscow.

This article was published by UNIAN:

The leader of the Crimean Tatar people, MP Mustafa Dzhemilev believes that granting of autocephaly to the local Orthodox Church of Ukraine by the Ecumenical Patriarchate is "an act that strengthens Ukraine's independence."

Speaking with RFE/RL's Krym.Realii project, Dzhemilev said the event was a landmark not only for Orthodox Christians, but for the entire people of Ukraine.

“Fetters are broken that were imposed on Ukraine by the Russian Empire more than 400 years ago. Centuries will pass, but this day and this event will be in textbooks. This is a huge victory and the fruit of the efforts of so many people,” he stressed.

According to Dzhemilev, efforts to obtain independence for the Ukrainian church had been carried out from the first days of the country's independence, but only after the start of the war and the occupation of part of the Ukrainian territories by Russia did the need for autocephaly finally become obvious.

“We touched on the issue in our conversations with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as far back as the 1990s, but at that time, Constantinople had not yet decided to spoil relations with Moscow. At the same time, Russia fiercely resisted the granting of autocephaly, resorting to bribery attempts and other tricks,” said the Crimean Tatar leader.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia