Journalists call on SBU, National Security Council and Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine to investigate destructive activities of UOC MP
A boost of informational activity of the UOC Moscow Patriarchate that followed the presidential and parliamentary elections, the resumption of aggressive rhetoric aimed at the Orthodox Church of Ukraine will sooner or later prompt Ukrainian society to publicly respond.
Observers of Cerkvarium have filed an information request with the key competent authorities that deal with Ukraine's national security, according to Relihiyna Pravda.
In the letter, they listed the main directions of the Moscow Patriarchate's destructive activity in Ukraine, recalling several high-profile cases that had already been instituted against the most odious clergymen of this Orthodox jurisdiction, and asked the authorities to explain to the public what has been done to restore the rule of law.
Below is the full text of the appeal.
National Security and Defense Council
Kyiv, 8 P. Bolbochana street
Security Service of Ukraine (SBU)
Kyiv, 33 Volodymyrska street
Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine
Kyiv, 13/15 Riznytska street
It has recently come to the attention of the public and the media that the issue of religious conflict between Orthodox churches of different jurisdictions got a boost in public. Obviously, this is due to two factors: the presidential and parliamentary elections (that is, the change of power) and the receipt of the Tomos by the Orthodox Church of Ukraine – with the participation of ex-President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.
The Orthodox religious entity, which calls itself the “Ukrainian Orthodox Church” and is directly subordinate to the Russian Orthodox Church (see the results of the religious expertise approved by Decree No. 37 of the Ministry of Culture dated January 25, 2019), has pinned great hopes on the newly elected President of Ukraine that he will contribute to the cessation of “persecution” and "discrimination on religious grounds". For several years, the UOC (MP) has been imposing on society, the media and international organizations monitoring the observance of human rights, the opinion that Ukraine is engaged at the state level in the persecution of believers of the "canonical Church" (religious persecution). This is a blatant manipulation that involves all sorts of fakes and slander against other Orthodox jurisdictions and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. That said, the speakers of the UOC (MP) are deliberately "forgetting" numerous instances of incitement to inter-confessional enmity, the use of hate speech, the calls to topple the constitutional system in Ukraine, the support provided to illegal armed groups "DPR" and "LPR" and collaboration with the puppet leaders of ORDLO and the occupation authorities in Crimea, for which the representatives of this Church are responsible. The relevant information is freely available on the Internet.
It is known from open sources that in December 2018, 14 priests were summoned for interrogation to the SBU office in Rivne region. Could you provide information on the results of the interrogation, as well as on the investigation into the activities of the clergy of the Dioceses of Rivne and Polissya of the UOC (MP), which fall under Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine "Treason" and Article 161 "Incitement to religious hatred".
A central figure to numerous media stories is a priest of the Diocese of Rivne, UOC-MP, Fr Viktor Zemlyanyy, who must have been fulfilling the order of the UOC (MP) leadership on violent and illegal obstruction of the right of religious communities to free change of subordination (Article 8 of the Law of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations”) and interference in the internal affairs of other legal entities, which are religious communities. In March 2019, the SBU served on him the notice of suspicion under Article 161 Part 1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine "Violating the equality of citizens based on their racial, ethnic background or attitude to religion" and Article 300 Part 1 "Import, manufacturing or distribution of works promoting the cult of violence and cruelty." In fact, this situation is not new because throughout all 27 years of independence, representatives of the UOC (MP) were involved in all this, while the SBU was turning a blind eye all this time to the obvious violation of the law, actually allowing to freely spread under the guise of freedom of religion the aggressive ideology of the "Russian World", which threatens the national security and sovereignty of Ukraine.
According to the statement of Fr. Victor Zemlyanyy, on May 7, 2019, the State Investigation Bureau instituted criminal proceedings under Article 372 Part 1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (bringing an obviously innocent person to criminal responsibility) regarding the actions of employees of the Rivne Department of SBU. All this was done in spite of the fact that hundreds if not thousands of evident proofs of illegal actions by priests of the UOC MP are freely available online. The wording "bringing an obviously innocent person to criminal responsibility" is simply a mockery of both the law and our society, which has been at war with the Russian Federation for 5 years.
Why have the SBU and the PGO failed to respond so far to the openly collaborative activities of the bishops of the UOC (MP) whose dioceses are wholly or partially located in the occupied territory of Donbas and in annexed Crimea? It is referred to Metropolitans Mytrofan (Yurchuk Mykhailo Ivanovych), Lazar (Rostyslav Fylypovych Shvets), Mytrofan (Andriy Viktorovych Nikitin). Why do the SBU and the PGO fail to respond to public events of the consecration of the Russian weapons in Crimea by bishops of the UOC (MP), as it was the case of Metropolitan Platon of Feodosia (Volodymyr Udovenko)?
From the very beginning, the leadership of the UOC (MP) called the war in Donbas "internal conflict", "fratricidal strife" and so on. The Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine stubbornly avoids the recognition of what is happening in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, the occupation and annexation of part of the territory of Ukraine by the Russian Federation as determined by the Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine dated 27 January 2015, the Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine dated 21 April 2015, the Law of Ukraine "On Ensuring the Rights and Freedoms of Citizens and the Legal Regime in the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine" and the Law of Ukraine "On the peculiarities of State policy on ensuring Ukraine's State sovereignty over temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions”.
This does not only undermine the sovereignty and defense capability of our state, but also indirectly legitimizes the actions of the Russian Federation. According to sociological research, the agency of the Church has one of the highest indicators of trust, so the respective position of the UOC (MP) can be regarded as undermining the defense of our country.
Some bishops, for example, Lonhin (Mykhailo Vasilyovych Zhar), disrupted mobilization in the Ukrainian army, thus undermining the defense capability of the country and urged others to violate the constitutional obligation provided for by Article 65 of the Constitution of Ukraine. He called the previous Ukrainian government 'satanists', speaking curses and forbidding to defend the country with weapons in hands, while keeping silent about the weapons used by our offenders. The Ministry of Culture filed complaints against Zhar with the SBU in 2015. What are the results of the SBU investigation?
Recently, one of the spokespersons of the UOC MP, Archpriest Mykola Danilevych, has said that it is not the Church's business to determine what kind of war is ongoing in Eastern Ukraine. Like, for the Church it's just a conflict, and the legal status is determined by the lawyers and the authorities. Do such statements constitute a public violation of several legislative acts, which have already defined Russia as an aggressor country?
Why don't the relevant authorities investigate the money flows and activities of anti-Ukrainian propaganda from Russian sources, why do they not notice the connection of the priests of the UOC-MP and their political patrons and sponsors with odious Russian businessmen, such as Konstantin Malofeyev, who, under the guise of importation to Ukraine of the "Gift of the Magi" was holding the negotiations with the Crimean leadership on the eve of the capture of Crimea by "green men", and today still funds the "DPR"? It was under the patronage of Malofeyev that the famous Russian militant Igor Girkin (Strelkov) came to Crimea and Kyiv during the Revolution of Dignity with the purpose of reconnaissance. He himself testified that he was very warmly greeted by the monks of the monastery of Svyatohirsk; and the "people's mayor" of Slovyansk Vyacheslav Ponomariov said in an interview that the Governor of the monastery, Metropolitan Arseny (Igor Yakovenko) blessed them.
As far as we know, the state and law enforcement agencies in recent years were actively infiltrated by the adherents of the "Russian World" under the guise of representatives of the "canonical faith". And it is clear that currently these persons are actively supporting the UOC (MP) in its subversive activities against Ukraine. A creeping revenge of anti-Ukrainian forces under the cover of religious activity is evolving before our eyes. It is hard and painful to realize that the state agencies that were set up to protect the national security of Ukraine, and whose employees swore allegiance to Ukraine and the Law, proved to be so powerless and cowardly enough to fail to bring to an end such kind of cases which have already been instituted, and to give an adequate assessment of the rest of the Russian-backed activities of other representatives of the UOC MP.
Could you please let know what measures the National Security and Defense Council, the Security Service of Ukraine, the General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine undertake to cease the anti-Ukrainian activities of the so-called "security units" of the UOC (MP), funded by MP Vadym Novynsky which operate under the guise of the Civic Association "Human Rights Association "Forpost" (USREOU code 39661145, led by Artem Aksyonov and Ilya Ivanchenko)? Its founders are the legal entity "Blagograd" and the charitable organization "Charity Fund "Favor" affiliated with the UOC (MP). The said entities are most active in Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Rivne, Khmelnytsky, Volyn, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk and Sumy regions.
Has the National Security and Defense Council considered the activities of the UOC MP in terms of subversive actions against Ukraine arranged by this religious organization (with the spiritual center in Moscow), undermining national security (disruption of mobilization, assistance to and collaboration with illegal paramilitary groups "DPR" and "LPR", cooperation with the aggressor – Russia, etc.), undermining national informational security (waging the anti-Ukrainian propaganda campaign, denying the expediency of existence of the state of Ukraine, denying the Russian aggression, undermining the morale both of civilian and military population, spreading blatant propaganda, cooperating with Russian propagandists to the detriment of Ukraine, etc.)? If not, why it is so, and who in government has sabotaged the raising of this issue?
What has the NSDC done to protect the information space of Ukraine from the anti-Ukrainian activities of the UOC?
We request to urgently consider our appeal on the merits and to provide public response.
NGO "Center for Religious Security"
Dmytro Horyevoy, Tetiana Derkach