Epifaniy, the head of Ukrainian Orthodox Church, was hoasted into having a conversation with a man he believed to be the EU Parliament lawmaker in charge of foreign affairs David McAllister. Deutsche Welle reported that.
Russian pro-Kremlin prankster team published a recording of their conversation.
“The two who go by the aliases Vovan and Leksus are well known for targeting high-ranking Western politicians and diplomats, including UK's Boris Johnson earlier this year. Ukraine's church press officials confirmed Dumenko was targeted,” the news agency reads.
According to the recording, Epiphaniy discussed topics such as the church’s conservative view and Ukraine’s attitude toward the LGBT community. He also pointed out the US’s support for building an independent Ukrainian church.
“In general, however, Dumenko remained reserved during the call, as his interlocutor raised sensitive topics,” the message says.
The person pretending to be McAllister said: "One day, you will bless the army to free Crimea and Donbass from the occupation and separatists, so I hope this will happen soon”.
It is mentioned that he was speaking English, but with a heavy Russian accent.
"I also believe that we will manage to reclaim Donbas and Crimea, and the war which is currently raging in Ukraine should end, because the God is on our side," Epiphaniy said.
"So you would like to bless the army?", the man asked again.
The leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church answered “by pointing to army chaplains and his plans to travel to the conflict zone and support and "bless" the soldiers”.
"But how can you get back Crimea to Ukraine?", his interlocutor asked.
"If Ukraine becomes a strong state and we manage to unite the Orthodox believers in one local Orthodox Church, I believe that the people would (…) themselves want to return to Ukraine," Dumenko responded.
Then the conversation moved to the LGBT topic.
"Naturally, I am in favor of starting a church reform, so there would not be any of this conservativism, and we would move away from the Russian tradition and the church would be open and serve as a guide to the Ukrainian people. This is a bit of a complicated issue, which we should not take up at the beginning of our path. Right now, we need to work on the Ukrainian society understanding it. But it's a long road and we will work on it, talk and look for answers on these complicated questions," Epifaniy stated.
Earlier, shortly after the creation of the unified local Orthodox church in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Parliament obliged the church organizations to state affiliation with the aggressor state. Under another law passed by the Parliament on Tuesday, December 18, the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate officially changed its name to the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.