UPTs BISHOP CALLS ATTENTION OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS TO VIOLATION OF BELIEVERS' RIGHTS IN UKRAINE
Interfax-Religiia, 18 February 2019
The head of the representation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in international European organizations, Bishop Viktor, appealed to officials of the U.N., O.S.C.E., E.U., and a number of countries because of violation of human rights in Ukraine and the threat of the escalation of religious conflicts.
"To our great regret, Orthodox believers of Ukraine have become hostages of a political game of first persons of the government, who have drawn into these processes even Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew, which has already led to numerous confrontations on religious grounds," the bishop declared in a video appeal circulated on Monday.
The representative of the UPTs pointed out that the attempt to create a united local church in Ukraine has engendered new contradictions and conflicts.
"Today liturgical buildings of our church, which has a thousand-year history, are being seized, believers are being beaten, and governmental official are forcing clergymen of the UPTs to transfer into the 'new church' that is supported by the Ukrainian president. The Security Service of Ukraine (S.B.U.) summons our priests to interrogations and our bishops may exit abroad only after a preliminary interrogation and intensified inspection by special state services," the bishop explained.
The video shows scenes of the beatings of believers and the seizures of church buildings in the presence of police officers, which the author of the appeal notes has become a "routine affair" in Ukraine.
The representative of the UPTs said that today there is happening a "struggle at the last barrier of human dimension—the spiritual," which, the bishop thinks, "without doubt will have negative consequences" not only for Ukraine, which is being integrated into Europe, but also for countries of the European Union and of the whole world.
"Never has the persecution of Christians been left without a trace for rulers who commit it, because we know that God is not mocked," the bishop of the canonical church emphasized, inviting journalists, rights advocates, and officials from abroad to come to Ukraine and see first hand what is happening.
On 5 February, another UPTs bishop, Gedeon, acquainted the U.S. Congress with instances of discrimination against the canonical church by Ukrainian authorities. Upon his return from America on 13 February, he was detained in the airport of Kiev and sent back. (tr. by PDS, posted 18 February 2019)
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