PTsU PRIMATE CALLS INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO PROTECT PTsU CHURCHES AND SACRED PLACES IN OCCUPIED DONBASS
RISU, 25 February 2019
Metropolitn Epifany sent to the United Nations, O.S.C.E., EU, and guarantor countries of the Minsk process an appeal to exert influence on the occupiers who are preparing in the Donbass the confiscation of Ukrainian Orthodox churches and the deportation of PTsU priests.
This is stated in an appeal of the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU) of 25 February.
The PTsU primate said that over the course of the past five years, on the territory of the Luhansk People's Republic and Donetsk People's Republic, the rights of believers, religious communities, and priests have been systematically violated. This is manifested in systematic persecutions, abuses, arrests, and seizures of church buildings.
"As of 1 March 2019, a threat will arise of the complete ban on the activity of communities and priests of our church and the complete confiscation of the property of parishes and the deportation of priests from the territory controlled by the so-called DPR. The basis for this," the metropolitan notes, "is the illegal requirement on parishes 'to be registered in accordance with the laws of the republic.' In connection with this, as of 2 March, 36 church buildings and facilities, as well as the diocesan House of Charity, belonging to parishes of our church in separate temporarily occupied regions of the Donetsk oblast, will be 'confiscated in favor of the republic,' and the priests will be deported."
The first hierarch called everybody to pray for the parishes and clergy of the PTsU in occupied territories of the Donbass and for all who are suffering from enslavement.
We note that in Crimea, occupiers also are demanding that parishes of the PTsU be registered on the territory of the Russian Federation. (tr. by PDS, posted 26 February 2019)
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