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WorldAsiaCharges against UOC Metropolitan Pavel

Charges against UOC Metropolitan Pavel

Ukraine’s security service confirmed on Saturday that the Vicar of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) Pavel (Lebed) has been charged with criminal offenses. He is suspected under two articles of the Criminal Code – on incitement to inter-religious hatred, as well as on the justification of Russian aggression against Ukraine.The SBU published a breakdown of the telephone conversations and Pavel’s sermons, in which, according to the expertise initiated by the service, the pastor “repeatedly offended the religious feelings of Ukrainians, humiliated the opinions of believers of other faiths and tried to create moods hostile to their regard”, and also “made statements which justified or denied the actions of the aggressor country”.Pavel’s home was raided on Saturday morning, so Pavel was taken for questioning and then to court to choose a restraint order. The prosecution is asking to send him to 24-hour house arrest. The hearing, however, was postponed until Monday morning after the Metropolitan announced that he was not feeling well. In court, the Metropolitan said, that “I have never been on the side of aggression”, not to mention Russia.The cleric also said he was accused of allegedly cursing the Ukrainian president. Pavel, in his recent video message to Vladimir Zelensky, said “our tears will not fall to the ground, they will fall on your head”. The Metropolitan stressed that he did not curse anyone, but simply quoted the Gospel. The SBU does not report that Pavel was charged with insulting the president.The Security Service of Ukraine also reported on the imposition of sanctions against 17 members of the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. In addition, a ban on entering the territory of Ukraine was introduced for 250 clerics of the Russian Orthodox Church.Also deprived of citizenship of Ukraine 19 members of the clergy of the UOC, who have Russian citizenship. Two people will be deported to Russia.The Ukrainian authorities have ordered Monastery of the UOC to leave the territory and buildings of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra until March 29 after the state reserve “Kiev-Pechersk Lavra” refused the lease agreement with the UOC. The UOC claims to have filed a lawsuit and has no intention of leaving the Lavra until the proceedings are completed.
Secretary of the Council for National Security and Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov said on Wednesday that the UOC monks would not be forcibly expelled from the Lavra – in his view, they themselves would leave “slowly ” the territory.
March 29 at Holy Cross Church On the territory of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, the last service of the UOC took place, which was attended by hundreds of believers.
At the end of November, searches were carried out in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. On November 15, the Ukrainian Security Service opened a criminal investigation under the article on the justification of Russian aggression because of a song sung by parishioners of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. The text of the song mentioned the words “mother – Rus'”.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in its a recent report noted that the actions of the Ukrainian authorities against the UOC could be discriminatory. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, in response, called The United Nations must refrain from unbalanced political assessments.
The UOC is one of the two largest Orthodox religious organizations in Ukraine, along with the autocephalous OCU. After the start of the war, the UOC declared its “independence” from the Moscow Patriarchate, but this independence was not legally formalized. Authorities believe that a number of UOC priests and hierarchs are de facto adopting a pro-Russian stance.

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