Several Russian media have falsely reported that a Ukrainian church is going to abandon Orthodoxy and fall in with the Greek Catholic Church.

On April 23, the Russian television and radio agency Zvezda published an article with the headline, “Ukrainians Are Ready to Abandon Orthodoxy.” Other Russian media reposted the news with similar headlines (Dni.ru and Novostnoi Front).

news-front.info website screenshot

news-front.info website screenshot

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tvzvezda.ru website screenshot

tvzvezda.ru website screenshot

The sensational headlines are based on a distorted account of the decretal of the Kharkiv and Poltava Eparchy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church adopted on April 1, 2015, on the 25th Eparchial Convocation. It contains the following text:

“To address His Beatitude Sviatoslav and the Episcopal Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church with a request of a council of brothers on achieving the full communion and the administrative unity [emphasized added] of the Kharkov and Poltava Eparchy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church as the co-heir of the Kyiv religious tradition.”

It remains clear that the Kharkiv and Poltava Eparchy will not be abandoning Orthodoxy, though this decretal caused great dispute within church society.

The Head of the Greek Catholic Church Committee on Christian unity assistance, Ihor Shaban, issued a comment to Stopfake on “the full communion and the administrative unity,” and on the supposed “abandoning of Orthodoxy” by the Autocephalous Church: “I can confidently say that the communion and administrative unity in no case means abandoning Orthodoxy [emphasis added] for the Autocephalous Church. Quite the opposite, this indicates that they realize and understand the importance of the united Church of Christ in Ukraine.”