Home page News
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill sends letters to rel…

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill sends letters to religious leaders, senior statesmen and heads of international organizations regarding the pressure exerted by the Ukrainian authorities on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the government’s interference in the ecclesiastical life in Ukraine

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia sent messages to the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches; Pope Francis; Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the Anglican Communion; Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches; Mr. António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General; Mr. Thomas Greminger, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe; as well as to H.E. Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of France; and H.E. Mrs. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany as heads of the Normandy Four states. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill draw their attention to the large-scale violations of the rights and freedom of hierarchs, clergy and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

“Recently, the interference of the leaders of the secular Ukrainian state in church affairs has grown into a blatant pressure on the episcopate and clerics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, what allows us to speak of the beginning of the large-scale persecutions,” the letter reads, “The pressure increased because of the refusal of the Ukrainian Orthodox episcopate to participate in the so-called “unification council” backed up by the leadership of Ukraine. During this “council” the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the largest in the country religious confession uniting thirteen thousand parishes, over two hundred monasteries and millions of faithful, is supposed to be replaced by some new religious organization that is being created by the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in concert with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.”

As is stated in the messages sent to the religious leaders, senior statesmen and heads of international organizations, “in order to force the episcopate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to participate in this event, the governmental authorities and law-enforcement agencies of Ukraine are taking actions flagrantly violating the constitutional rights and freedoms of the Ukrainian citizens.”

His Holiness mentions that hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are being summoned for “talks” and questioning by the Security Service of Ukraine; they are encountering obstacles when crossing the state border of Ukraine, are being detained under different pretexts and subjected to humiliating searches. For instance, on December 9, the Security Service of Ukraine denied Metropolitan Ilarion of Donetsk, a citizen of Ukraine, entry into the country, invoking “special instructions from Kiev.”

At the level of the Government and local authorities attempts are being made to deprive the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of its legal rights to use the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras – major holy sites of the Orthodox Ukraine. “Thus, on November 23, 2018, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine revoked the decision on the state registration of the right of the monastic community to use the complex of buildings of the Holy Dormition Pochaev Lavra. And on November 28, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine revoked its instruction of July 17, 2003, On the Exclusion of the Holy Dormition Pochaev Lavra from the Kremenets-Pochaev State Historical-Architectural Reserve. The reserve representatives do not conceal that in future the monastery can be given for use to another religious organization. On December 5, the Kremenets-Pochaev Reserve conducted an inspection of items of church value in the Holy Dormition Pochaev Lavra,” the letter says.

His Holiness mentions that on November 28, for the first time in thirty years, a commission of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine conducted an inspection of cultural property in the territory of the Holy Dormition Kiev Caves Lavra. On November 30, a search was conducted in the territory of a subsidiary farm of the Kiev Caves Lavra in the village of Voronkov of the Borispol district, Kiev region. During the search, a number of irregularities in judicial proceedings occurred.

As it is emphasized in the messages, attempts are being made to hold bishops and clerics criminally liable on baseless charges of “high treason” and “incitement to religious hatred.” In a number of regions in Ukraine massive searches are being carried out on the premises of diocesan administrations, churches and places of clergymen’s residence.

For instance, on December 1, this year, twenty clergymen from the dioceses of Rovno and Sarny of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Rovno region) were summoned at the same time for questioning by the Security Service of Ukraine. On December 3, searches were conducted in cathedrals, diocesan administrations, churches and even private houses of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s clergymen in the cities of Zhytomir, Ovruch and Korosten. On December 5, twelve clergymen from the dioceses of Rovno and Sarny of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church were interrogated. As is stated in the documents, an investigation is being carried out within the framework of criminal proceedings under Article 111 (“high treason”) and Article 161 (“incitement to religious hatred”) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

“The state-run mass media continue their massive campaign aimed at discrediting the Ukrainian Church by publishing confidential personal data of hierarchs and clergymen of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that are at the disposal of the government. In particular, personal data of a considerable number of bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have been published on the Myrotvorets website, along with the comments stirring up religious hatred,” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia says in his letters, pointing out that this website functioning with the direct support of the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine “became notoriously famous for publishing personal data of the Ukrainian, American and European journalists who were after that subjected to beatings and threats; some of them were even killed.” His Holiness emphasizes that “despite protests of the American and European public, the governmental authorities of Ukraine did not close the Myrotvorets project, and the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior continues to support it.”

His Holiness notes that “the high-ranking Ukrainian officials are not averse to making allegations in public against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, thus inciting inter-confessional hatred.” For instance, on November 30, 2018, Mr. Zoryan Shkiryak, adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Interior, said in public that Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl, abbot of the Holy Dormition Kiev Caves Lavra, “is a vampire who hates Ukraine, the Ukrainians and everything Ukrainian.” Mr. Andriy Parubiy, chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, also took the liberty of making public insulting and slanderous allegations against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In particular, he said in public that clergymen of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church were instrumental in perpetration of murders of the Ukrainian citizens.

“The Ukrainian President himself does not make secret his hostile attitude towards the Church. Mr. Petro Poroshenko publicly threatened to banish from the country those Ukrainians who do not want to join the “autocephalous church” which is being created by the government,” the letters say, “It speaks for itself that the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church received invitations to the “unification council” signed by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople from government officials, while the Constitution of Ukraine stipulates that “the church and religious organizations in Ukraine are separated from the state” (Constitution of Ukraine, Article 35), and therefore any interference of the state in inter-church relations is unconstitutional.”

“We do not know what steps the authorities of Ukraine will take next, what actions they can dare to undertake to achieve their goal in a time left before the presidential elections. Yet, the numerous facts of discrimination to which the Ukrainian Church has already been subjected make us fear even more serious infringement on the rights and freedoms of the Orthodox Christians, their greater sufferings for remaining faithful to the canonical Orthodoxy,” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill writes in his letters.

As His Holiness notes, at its session held on December 7, the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was forced to admit the fact of “baseless criminal prosecutions” brought by the governmental authorities and “the pressure put on the episcopate, clergy and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church with the view of making them take part in the so-called unification council.” The Synod rightfully concluded that such actions “violate the constitutional rights of the citizens of Ukraine to freedom of religion.”

“In our plain view the governmental authorities of Ukraine are blatantly interfering in church life, the fundamental human rights are being violated, and an obvious attempt is being made to use the Church for political benefits and in the election campaign,” the letters read.

 

The Primate of the Russian Church called upon the religious leaders, senior statesmen and heads of international organizations to make every effort to protect the episcopate, clergy and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from discrimination and pressure exerted by the Ukrainian authorities and to defend the freedom of conscience and religion secured by the international law.

DECR Communication Service

Поделиться:
Patriarch Kirill congratulates Metropolitan Porfirije on his election to the Serbian Patriarchal See

18.02.2021

Patriarch Kirill presented with Serbian highest national award

15.02.2021

Supreme Church Council holds first online session

11.02.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill celebrates Divine Liturgy at Christ the Saviour Cathedral marking 12th anniversary of his enthronement

01.02.2021

Congratulations from the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church to Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada on the anniversary of his enthronement

27.01.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s condolences over passenger plane crash in the Java Sea

09.01.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s condolences over passenger plane crash in the Java Sea

09.01.2021

Patriarch Kirill Gives Christmas Interview to Rossia TV

07.01.2021

Christmas Message by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia

06.01.2021

Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church to take place in November 2021

29.12.2020

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairs Holy Synod’s last session in 2020

29.12.2020

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and Primate of Orthodox Church in America hold telephone conversation

21.12.2020

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill congratulates Joseph Biden on his election as President of the United States of America

15.12.2020

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s address at the session of the Holy Synod held on 8th December 2020

08.12.2020

Holy Synod takes a number of decisions concerning external relations of the Russian Orthodox Church

20.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: Church and religious communities are becoming targets for LGBT groups

28.02.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Patriarch of Constantinople has no flock in Ukraine

27.02.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Christians in the Middle East need our compassion and prayer

22.02.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: At the heart of dialogue with the Catholic Church is the situation of Christians in the Middle East, culture and charity work.

22.02.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Western human rights lawyers prefer to remain silent on the seizure of church buildings in Ukraine

22.02.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Brotherly relations between the Russian and Serbian Churches will remain with the new Serbian Patriarch

21.02.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion spoke at an online seminar of the International Hellenic University

16.02.2021

"Freedom and Responsibility as Viewed by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill". Address by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (International Hellenic University online seminar, 16th February 2021)

16.02.2021

Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Holy See discuss cooperation in cultural and social spheres

12.02.2021

Christian response to the pandemic challenge discussed at online-conference

12.02.2021

Supreme Church Council holds first online session

11.02.2021

Online conference «The Church and the Pandemic» will be held on February 12

11.02.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion on the Annulment of Anti-Church Provisions in Montenegro’s Laws

07.02.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk expressed his condolences on the death of Protopresbyter Daniel Hubiak, one of the oldest clerics of the Orthodox Church in America

06.02.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Restoration of unity in our common Orthodox family is possible only through the denial of false ecclesiology

01.02.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord always grants to us the opportunity to display our talents

24.01.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord has imbued the waters of Jordan with his divine presence to wash away human sins

19.01.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: to repent means to change your way of life

17.01.2021

On commemoration day of St. Catherine, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk officiated at the Church of St. Catherine the Great Martyr In-the-Fields  the representation of the Orthodox Church in America

07.12.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: We can always show compassion for people

29.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion celebrates on commemoration day of St. Varlaam of Khutyn at the church of ‘Joy to All the Afflicted’ icon of the Mother of God

19.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: We should remember that the life of each human being is in the hands of God

06.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: For God there is nothing impossible

25.10.2020

Metropoplitan Hilarion: The cross which was an instrument of dishonourable execution becomes the symbol of salvation for millions of people

27.09.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: Eucharist is the wedding feast, to which Lord Jesus Christ invites each of us

13.09.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: Faith alone is not enough for salvation

30.08.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: God is willing to give everyone a wonderful gift of faith, but people must be willing to accept it

16.08.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: We should be mindful of the value of human life

02.08.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates liturgy at Church of Antioch’s Moscow Representation on its patron saint’s day

26.07.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: For Orthodox Christians Hagia Sophia will always remain a church dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ

24.07.2020

Feedback

Fields marked by * are mandatory required

Send a message