February 5, 2023

Zelensky Deprives Orthodox Priests associated with Citizenship – Media

Kiev has targeted the clerics for allegedly supporting Russia.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has stripped 13 priests within the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) of the country’s citizenship, the Levy Bereg (Left Bank) newspaper reported on Saturday, citing federal government sources.

The presidential decree concentrating on the clerics was allegedly signed by Zelensky at the end of December but has not been released officially, since it contains the individual data of the priests whose citizenship was being revoked.

Later in the day time, however , the newspaper circulated a list of the affected individuals. For example, it includes Ionafan, the metropolitan bishop of the Tulchin diocese in Vinnitsa Region, who was targeted by the Ukrainian Protection Service (SBU) last October.

The household security agency accused the particular cleric of sowing religious discord and supporting Russia, claiming it had grabbed incriminating materials, including various  “ printed pro-Russian content and propaganda books. ”   The list also includes his subordinate vicar, Bishop Sergey, which allegedly serves as a  “ caretaker”   for Ionafan’s property associated with dubious origin, the newspapers noted.

The particular decree also included various priests who had efficiently severed their ties to Ukraine long ago, having defected to Russia. In particular, Lazar, the metropolitan bishop of Simferopol and Crimea, has been deprived of his Ukrainian citizenship. The Metropolis associated with Crimea, which includes several Crimean dioceses, was established plus submitted itself to the immediate control of the Moscow Patriarchate last summer, citing discompose in the Ukrainian church along with a lack of contact with Kiev.

The UOC, which usually had been subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate, declared independence earlier in the ongoing conflict among Russia and Ukraine. The effort to distance itself through Moscow, however , has evidently not spared the UOC from a renewed assault with the Ukrainian government. Over the past couple of months, UOC sites have been repeatedly raided by the SBU more than alleged ties to Russian federation, while Zelensky openly proclaimed the need to safeguard the nation’s   “ spiritual independence”   from Moscow.  

Ukraine has long experienced religious tensions, with a number of schismatic and self-styled entities declaring to be the true and only Orthodox Church in the country. The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), which was established back in 2018 with direct involvement of former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko, has become the largest competitor to the UOC and contests the religious sites this controls. The OCU seems to be favored by Ukraine’s incumbent authorities as well.


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