OCU Synod appeals to world community to protect Ukrainian Church in occupied Crimea and Donbas
The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, held on March 4 in Kyiv, adopted an appeal to the international community to influence the invaders who persecuted the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in the occupied territories of Crimea and some districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (ORDLO).
"When claiming the alleged ‘persecution’ against the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine, Russian church and state officials silence and ignore the numerous facts of true persecution experienced by believers of various Ukrainian Churches and religious organizations, in particular of our Church, in the Ukrainian territories of Donbas and in Crimea under Russian occupation,” the document says.
As the authors of the appeal point out, in the occupied Crimea, for five years, the persecutions of the OCU believers have not ceased. The occupants seized the cathedral in Simferopol and detained Archbishop Klyment on trumped up charges. A similar situation exists in the ORDLO: on March 1, the OCU was facing a threat of complete ban, full confiscation of property and deportation.
“Taking into account these threats and constant pressure on the clergy and faithful of our Church in the occupied Ukrainian territories of Donbas and in Crimea, we appeal to the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the countries guarantors of the Minsk Process , to the European Union and, in general, to all democratic countries, international and inter-denominational institutions, to influence those in charge of decision-making in these territories in order to curb escalation of persecution on our Church.
We also ask all believers to pray, especially during the upcoming Lent, for victory and peace, for the communities and clergy of our Church in the occupied territories of Donbas and in Crimea, and for all those who suffer from enslavement,” the participants of the Holy Synod of the OCU reiterate.