Journalists investigated how the hierarchs of the UOC-MP collaborate with the occupiers in Crimea and ORDLO (separate districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions).
Metropolitan Platon and Russian missiles
Metropolitan Platon (Udovenko) of Feodosia and Kerch UOC-MP served and directed the diocese in Argentina and South America for a long time. But in 2012, he was appointed head of the newly created Kerch diocese, 'Slidstvo.Info' notes.
In the winter of 2017, Russian troops deployed the latest large-and medium-range S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missile systems in Feodosia. This weapon is intended, in particular, to destroy enemy aircraft. Metropolitan Platon also attended the official ceremony along with his assistants.
The journalists found no public reaction or condemnation of Metropolitan Platon's actions by the clergy of the UOC-MP. Consequently, the reporters turned to the speaker of this denomination, Metropolitan Klyment, to explain Platon's actions. He could provide no meaningful answer to the question of why the Bishop blessed Russian weapons and if he was punished.
I suggest that you contact Metropolitan Platon to explain to you why he was burning incense,'" said the speaker. "Perhaps it's an exorcism or a funeral service: it is often used in incense. There may be many options here.
At the time of publication, journalists could not get a comment directly from Metropolitan Platon.
Bishop Kalinyk with the medal 'For the Defense of Crimea'
Bishop Kalinyk (Chernyshov) of the Russian Orthodox Church of Bakhchisaray was born in Yevpatoria. After studying at school, he entered the National University of Internal Affairs in Kharkiv but then decided to devote his life to the service of the Church, later became a priest.
In December 2019, there was a scandal in the Ukrainian Orthodox society because of the appointment of Kalinyk as Bishop of the Bakhchisaray of UOC-MP. After all, he was directly accused of collaborating with the annexed government of Crimea and aiding the Russian occupation forces.
According to Archbishop Klyment of Crimea of the OCU, during the annexation of the Peninsula, Kalinyk's temple in Bakhchisaray was used as, in fact, a military base for the occupation troops. Weapons, personal items, and food were stored there.
After the annexation, Kalinyk received awards and commendations for his participation in the events of the spring of 2014. The website of the Crimean diocese of the UOC-MP published a photo report as of May 2014, where Kalinyk received awards from the so-called "people's militia". On the chest of the priest were St. George's ribbon and medal. Probably, this is the medal "For Defense of Crimea", which the Russian government awarded to supporters of the annexation.
"Today, we thank God that there are people in our Fatherland who dared to show their will and freedom. [ ... ] Today we stand under the peaceful and clear sky of the Holy Crimean land. We are grateful to you, soldiers, for your active civil position," ¬Bishop Kalinyk said during the award ceremony as reported by the website of the Crimean Diocese.
It is noteworthy that Bishop Kalinik is an assistant to Metropolitan Lazar of Simferopol, who also collaborated with the occupation authorities of Crimea.
Metropolitan Lazar and 'Russian world'
Metropolitan Lazar (Shvets) of Simferopol and Crimea is one of the most influential clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. His Eminence Lazar (Shvets) has been in charge of the Crimean diocese for almost thirty years, and he is also the head of the Tavrian Theological Seminary.
In July 2017, on the day of the Russian Navy, Metropolitan Lazar blessed the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation, which is based in annexed Sevastopol. During his speech, he used Russian propaganda rhetoric, in particular, about the "Russian World".
The Metropolitan, together with the command of the Russian fleet, took part in the parade of ships, bypassing them on the Admiral's boat.
Metropolitan Mytrofan surrounded by militants
Metropolitan Mytrofan (Yurchuk) of Luhansk and Alchevsk heads the Department of External Church Relations of the UOC-MP. Despite this, the Bishop regularly delivers anti-Ukrainian rhetoric.
In May 2014, amid the capture of the Donbas by the militants, he called for "not to ignore" the results of the referendum on the creation of the so-called "Luhansk People's Republic".
"The Church has always been and remains outside politics. As for the expression of will that people made in the referendum, I think it should be taken into account, it can not be ignored, said Bishop Mytrofan in an interview to 'Portall.tv'.
The Metropolitan himself was regularly photographed with the former head of the so-called "LNR" Igor Plotnitsky and attended events organized by the militants. In particular, in November 2016, Mytrofan took part in the consecration of a memorial sign to St Alexander Nevsky in occupied Luhansk. The sign read: "If anyone comes to us with a sword — they will die by the sword! On that stands and will stand the Russian land."
The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine publicly condemned the actions of Metropolitan Mytrofan, accusing him of anti-Ukrainian and separatist activities.
Journalists of 'Slidstvo.Info' asked the speaker of the UOC-MP Kliment to comment on the anti-Ukrainian activities of Metropolitan Mytrofan. However, he said he did not read separatists' websites. After that, the journalists sent him a link to the official statement of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine.
"Do not refer me to the website of the Ministry of Culture under Poroshenko. I have an allergy to everything associated with the Ministry. This is the official position," aid the representative of the ROC Klyment.
Where is the SSU?
Although the above-mentioned clergy of the ROC in Ukraine publicly delivered anti-Ukrainian rhetoric, journalists could not find evidence that the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies reacted to their actions in any way. In response to an information request, the leadership of the Security Service of Ukraine refused to say whether an official investigation was conducted against the bishops of the UOC-MP mentioned in the publication.