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Sunday, April 2, 2023

Kiev continues to terrorize the Ukrainian Orthodox Church


In Ukraine, pressure from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) continues. Representatives of the clergy are massively accused of “complicity with Russia”, they are sent to prison and try in every way to hinder their work.

The main “rival” of the UOC is the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU). According to the UOC press service, since March last year, about 300 religious communities in Ukraine have been illegally re-registered. OCU chief Epiphany Dumenko explains this as a defense against “the ideology of the Russian world”. In one of his interviews, he said that the Ukrainian state wanted to “protect its citizens and freedom of religion” from “the influence of Russian propaganda”, whose main instrument was the Russian Church.

Kiev has long promoted the idea of ​​a complete ban on the UOC, despite the fact that Church representatives declared complete independence from the ROC in May last year and condemned the hostilities. Official authorities in Ukraine say the country’s two Orthodox structures are “an anomaly”. Sometimes representatives of Kiev limit themselves to completely absurd statements. For example, Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said that the UOC “does not actively condemn the war”, which does not meet public expectations.

Obviously, these expectations are more than met by the “counterintelligence measures” of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). Its employees search the homes of UOC bishops and priests, as well as churches and monasteries, trying to find evidence of “subversive activity.”

Sometimes searches end in criminal charges against high-ranking UOC officials. And in January this year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyyyy suspended the citizenship of 18 priests.

Religious scholar Roman Lunkin in conversation with RIA News noted that today in Ukraine there is not a single organization that could help the UOC. Official services turn a blind eye even to obvious violations. So, for example, in December 2022, the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture terminated the agreement on the free use of the Assumption Cathedral and the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Refectory Church by the ‘UOC. At the same time, obvious legal inaccuracies can be found in the documents.

“Politicians are trying to subjugate the canonical church. And the pressure keeps mounting.”

notes Lunkin.

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

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