Ukraine-Russia church conflict echoes Russia-Ukraine hybrid war


RISU, 27 July 2020


Metropolitan of Pereiaslav and Vishnevoe Alexander of the P.Ts.U. [Orthodox Church of Ukraine] urged the government to prohibit the activity of the R.P.Ts [Russian Orthodox Church] in Ukraine. The metropolitan wrote about this on his Facebook page.


It was this way that the PTsU metropolitan reacted to the decision of a Crimean court, which required the archbishop of the Crimean diocese of the PTsU, Kliment, to demolish the church in Evpatoria within 5 days.


Metropolitan Alexander emphasized that the "leadership of the state must immediately give a suitable response to this 'spiritual terrorism.'" In the event that the stated threats are carried out, then it must prohibit the activity of the RPTs in Ukraine, as "enablers of international terrorism." "An immense number of liturgical facilities of the UPTs [Ukrainian Orthodox Church], which are in jurisdictional affiliation with the Moscow patriarchate, have been built in violation of pertinent legislation. There has been widespread violation of the rules of the use of rented premises and an infinite number of violations while beginning their use as well as of the rules of fire safety," the metropolitan noted.


As RISU has reported, on 23 July Russian court bailiffs delivered to the archbishop of the Crimean diocese of the PTsU, Kliment, an order regarding demolition of the church in Evpatoria, which is in the annexed Crimea. (tr. by PDS, posted 27 July 2020)


Glavkom, 24 July 2020


Archbishop of Simferopol and Crimea Kliment received an order from the "Court Bailiffs Service of Crimea" regarding demolition of a church of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU) in Evpatoria. The building must be demolished within five days. This was reported by the Office of the Ombudsman of Ukraine.


In the event that the requirements are not fulfilled, the occupation authorities of Crimea may open against the archbishop a criminal proceeding on the basis of article 315 of the Criminal Code of Russia, non-fulfillment of a sentence of a court, decision of a court, or other judicial act.


The so-called "court" in Crimea made the decision regarding demolition of the facility because of the respondent's alleged lack of proof of the legality of the use of the land parcel and building of the parish of the PTsU in Evpatoria.


The ombudsman condemns the actions of the occupying authorities and notes that the decision of the so-called "court" in Crimea and the persecution of representatives of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine because of religious convictions are violations of article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees to each person the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.


We recall that on 14 November 2019, the Arbitration Court of the Central District of Kaluga (Russian Federation) turned down the cassation appeal of representatives of the Crimean diocese of the PTsU. The issue was an appeal of a decision of the so-called "Ministry of Property and Land Relations" in Crimea regarding "termination of the lease agreement" for the premises of the cathedral church of Saints Vladimir and Olga in the city of Simferopol.


In connection with this, it is expected that a single church of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in Simferopol, the center of the Crimean diocese of the PTsU, will be destroyed, access to which was already previously impossible because of the actions of the occupying authorities.


The United Nations Committee on Human Rights received an appeal from Orthodox Ukrainian believers of Simferopol and twice required Russia not to evict the Crimean diocese from the cathedral church. However the authorities of the RF ignored these obligations.


Archbishop Kliment reported that after the court's decision regarding transfer of the use of the property to the Russian "Ministry of Property Relations of Crimea," the property of the PTsU cathedral in Simferopol was plundered and destroyed.


On 10 December, Kliment went to Kiev and declared a hunger strike. He picketed the building of the cabinet of ministers with a poster saying "Ensure the rights of religious liberty of Ukrainians in Crimea." (tr. by PDS, posted 27 July 2020)


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