Is Ukraine not going to Recognize Baptisms Performed by the Churches under the Jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate?

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On December 5-7th, Russian- (1,2,3,4,5) and Georgian-language (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8) Facebook accounts, including the pro-governmental expert Soso Manjavidze, as well as the page “Global Orthodox Россия” have reported that Ukrainians who were baptized in the past by the “Ukrainian Orthodox Church” (Українська православна церква – УПЦ) will have to be re-baptized in the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (Православна церква України – ПЦУ). Selected Facebook accounts have been disseminating the information along with a photo, which states in Ukrainian that, in light of the recent events, the baptisms performed by the UOC are annulled and it is possible to register for re-baptism with OCU priests. According to the widespread posts, the said announcement is circulated in Ukrainian churches. The same information was published by the Russian media outlets Газета.ru and Военное обозрение.

11 Is Ukraine not going to Recognize Baptisms Performed by the Churches under the Jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate?az Is Ukraine not going to Recognize Baptisms Performed by the Churches under the Jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate?

The claim that the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” demands the re-baptism of Ukrainians is false. In a comment made to Stopfake, a Ukrainian fact-checking agency, the press service of the OCU stated that such practice is not permitted and is not carried out by the church.

Ukrainian fact-checking organization Stopfake has verified the claims about the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) requesting the re-baptism of persons already baptized by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) under the Moscow Patriarchate. In a comment to the organization, the press service of OCU confirmed that the church did not issue such a statement. The commentary of the Church also mentions that repeated baptism is considered a sin, because it represents the spiritual birth of a person, since a person is born only once.

After the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war, part of the congregation of the Russian-affiliated Ukrainian Orthodox Church joined the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. In May, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church declared “complete independence” from Russia. The church has recently been in the spotlight since early December, after Ukrainian authorities began investigating the cleric’s possible ties to Russia.

On December 1st, 2022, in his address, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, spoke about the need to preserve the spiritual independence of Ukraine and announced the development of legislative initiatives that would limit the activities of religious organizations affiliated with Russia on the territory of Ukraine.

At different times, the special services of Ukraine found Russian passports and Russian currency as a result of searches conducted in several dioceses.

Notably, in 2021, Ukrainian media (1, 2) reported that the call for re-baptism was voiced by the Russian clergy towards those Ukrainians who had been baptized by the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in the past. A similar recommendation was voiced by one of the metropolitans of the Moscow Patriarchate in 2020 as well.

The article has been written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. You can read more about the restrictions that Facebook may impose based on this article via this link. You can find information about appealing or editing our assessment via this link.

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Topic: Religion
Violation: Disinformation
Country: Russia, Ukraine

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