RPTs SYNOD CALLS UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES TO STOP PERSECUTION OF BELIEVERS OF CANONICAL CHURCH
Interfax-Religiia, 26 February 2019
The Holy Synod of the Moscow patriarchate turned to the leadership of Ukraine with a call to put an end to persecutions of parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
"We appeal to the state authorities of Ukraine to cease persecutions against their own citizens who do not wish to join the schism," says the statement of the synod, whose session was held on Tuesday in Moscow.
In addition, the synod asks the fraternal local Orthodox churches to support prayerfully "the persecuted Ukrainian Orthodox Church," and it also calls the world community to pay attention to "egregious incidents of the violation of human rights" and to make an appropriate assessment "of the crude interference of the Ukrainian government in the affairs of the church."
As the head of the synod's Department for Relations of Church with Society and News Media, Vladimir Legoida, told journalists, the Ukrainian topic was considered by the synod "in a special order."
"It is becoming ever more obvious that the goal of representatives of the existing state authorities is the liquidation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," the synod declared, noting that local authorities and law enforcement agencies of Ukraine have been given recommendations to facilitate maximally the transfer of parishes of the UPTs "into the schism."
Threats are heard to take away from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church its largest monasteries and historic sacred places, the Kiev caves lavra and the Pochaev lavra, and the majority of incidents of seizure of church buildings from religious communities are happening despite their decisions to remain in the canonical church, the Holy Synod thinks.
"The ongoing lawlessness has led to a surge in violence with respect to the clergy and believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Despite assurances by the leadership of Ukraine and the patriarchate of Constantinople about the peaceful character of the so-called 'unification of Ukrainian Orthodoxy,' dozens of churches have been seized by means of forced entry, with the support of militant formations and with frequent incidents of beatings of clergy and believers of the canonical church, who are trying to defend their sacred places," the RPTs synod declares.
In this situation, it called all believers of the Russian Orthodox Church to intensify their prayers "for their suffering brethren in Ukraine, for granting them courage and Christian patience in their defense of holy Orthodoxy." (tr. by PDS, posted 26 February 2019)
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