The Ukrainian Orthodox Church should work to stop clergy from participating in neo-Nazi events in Ukraine, the World Jewish Congress (WJC) said today (August 25, 2013) in a letter to the head of the church, according to the Orthodox Church Info blog.
WJC President Ronald Lauder asked Patriarch Filaret in a letter to speak out against events glorifying the Nazis. Lauder referred to a recent ceremony near Lviv, Ukraine marking the 70th anniversary of the creation of the Galician division of the Waffen SS, in which Ukrainians fought on the side of Nazi Germany.
The WJC president wrote: "I was horrified to see photographs of young Ukrainians wearing the dreaded SS uniform with swastikas clearly visible on their helmets as they carried caskets of members of this Nazi unit, lowered them into their new graves, and fired gun salutes in their honor. I was especially troubled by the participation in this ceremony of a priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that appeared to give a religious legitimacy to the rehabilitation of the SS."
In his letter, Lauder expressed hope that Patriarch Filaret would use his "moral authority to prevent any further rehabilitation of Nazism or the SS, and that you will call on the clergy of your Church not to participate in any future ceremonies or events that glorify or legitimize a uniform that epitomizes the evil of genocide."