Moscow church bishop harassed in Ukraine


Interfax-Religiia, 14 February 2019


The vicar abbot of the Desyatyna monastery of Kiev, Bishop Gedeon, who was arrested yesterday in the Borispol airport, on Thursday morning was deported to the U.S.A., from which he had just arrived.


"The Vladyka was deported to the U.S.A! Armed machine gunners drove up to the airplane as for a criminal," his associates wrote on the bishop's Facebook page.


As was reported, on Wednesday evening at the international airport of Kiev the vicar abbot of the Desyatyna monastery, Bishop Gedeon, a vicar of the Kiev metropolitanate of the UPT, was arrested after a visit to the U.S.A., where he acquainted Congress and the secretary of state with instances of discrimination against the canonical church and delivered an official appeal of the UPTs requesting a review of instances of violation of the rights and liberties of believers.


The UPTs center of information notes that the bishop was detained on the eve of a session of the Supreme Court on a lawsuit requesting that the appeal of the Verkhovna Rada to Patriarch Bartholomew about receiving a tomos be found to be invalid. Bishop Gedeon was supposed to act in the capacity of plaintiff in this proceeding.


Yesterday the Ukrainian border service reported that the bishop was detained because of problems with his documents.


"I was not admitted into Ukraine on the claim that my citizenship had been revoked, and is invalid, although 15 days ago I flew out and there were no problems and court decisions," Bishop Gedeon reported in a video appeal posted on his Facebook page.


He also described how his arrest was based on the fact that his passport supposedly had been lost, although he had not filed any statement about loss of passport.


"This is simply some kind of religious and political pressure," Bishop Gedeon concluded. (tr. by PDS, posted 15 February 2019)



RIA Novosti, 14 February 2019


The Moscow patriarchate is awaiting the reaction of the West to the expulsion from Ukraine of the vicar abbot of the Desyatyina monastery of Kiev, Bishop Gedeon, and it connected this step by the Ukrainian authorities with attempts by Gedeon to call the attention of the American Congress to incidents of discrimination against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. (UPTs)


Earlier the UPTs reported that Bishop Gedeon, on 5 February, reported in the Congress of the U.S.A. about the situation involving violation of the rights of believers and also described discrimination against the church by Ukrainian authorities, beatings of believers, and harassment of clergymen on the part of radical organizations. He also delivered an official appeal by the UPTs requesting a consideration of incidents of violation of rights and freedoms of believers. Upon his return to Ukraine, the bishop was arrested in the Borispol airport of Kiev.


"We expect editorials in the western press that the American rights advocate Kharon, who also is a bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, was forcibly deported from Ukraine. After all, before this, while meeting with congressmen, he merely gave evidence of violation of the religious rights of citizens in Ukraine. It was his words of truth, spoken to Americans, that evoked such enmity by Ukrainian authorities that they actually deprived him also of his Ukrainian citizenship and forcibly shipped him out of the country," the head of the synod's Department for Relations of the Church with Society and News Media, Vladimir Legoida, wrote on social networks.


He recalled that the Ukrainian native, Bishop Gedeon, served for a long time in the U.S.A. and received American citizenship there.


Earlier the press secretary of the head of the state border service of Ukraine, Oleg Slobodin, accused Kharon of "anti-Ukrainian propaganda." He reported that on Thursday morning the bishop flew out by return flight to Frankfurt. Border guards confiscated his Ukrainian passport from him.


The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has frequently reported harassment of clergymen and seizures of church buildings by representatives of uncanonical religious structures. In connection with the recognition by the patriarchate of Constantinople of Ukrainian schismatics, pressure on the canonical church in Ukraine has substantially intensified. The UPTs has reported open discrimination and persecutions on the part of authorities, members of nationalist groupings, and schismatic structures, and also an information campaign against it in the Ukrainian news media. (tr. by PDS, posted 15 February 2019)


Background articles:
Moscow church tries to get American support in Ukrainian issue
February 6, 2019

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