OCU Primate calls on international community to protect churches and clergy of OCU in occupied Donbas
Metropolitan Epifaniy has appealed to the UN, OSCE, EU and guarantors of the Minsk Process to exert influence on the occupiers who are set to seize Ukrainian Orthodox churches and to deport the priests of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The Head of the OCU made this appeal on February 25.
According to the head of the OCU, during the past five years, the rights of believers, religious communities and clerics have been systematically violated on the territory of the “LPR” and the “DPR”. This is manifested in a systematic persecution, bullying, arrests, seizure of churches.
“Already from March 1, 2019 and on, the communities and clerics of our Church face a threat of complete prohibition of their activities, the complete confiscation of community property and the deportation of priests from the so-called DPR territory. The reason for this, according to Metropolitan, is that there is an illegal requirement for communities to register anew in line with the law of the republic.” In this regard, since March 2, 36 churches and premises, as well as the diocesan House of Mercy, belonging to the communities of our Church in some temporarily occupied areas of the Donetsk region, may be “confiscated in favor of the 'republic'”, the priests may face deportation.
Epifaniy called on all to pray for the community and the clergy of the OCU in the occupied territories of Donbas and for all those who suffer from oppression.
It should be noted that in Crimea occupiers also require the community of the OCU to register in the territory of the Russian Federation under its law.