Orthodox churches under threat in Ukraine - patriarch Kirill
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill expresses his concern about "the scale of the persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow patriarchate in Ukraine", Interfax and Russia beyond the headlines inform
"Over thirty churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have now been taken over and at least ten are under the threat of attack by schismatics and nationalists, who are trying to prevent what is happening as voluntary transition of believers to the so-called Kyiv patriarchate," the patriarch said during a meeting with the heads of Orthodox Churches in Chambesy, Switzerland, on the preparations for the All-Orthodox Assembly, the patriarch's press service reported on Saturday.
"In actual fact, it was a real bandit, raiding takeover: they hold a meeting of people who are unrelated to the community, then they fake the charter documents with the authorities' assistance, take over the church using nationalist militants, and they throw the church community and the priest out in the street," he said.
Patriarch Kirill said communities of the canonical church driven away from churches win all lawsuits, "but schismatics and their semi-bandit military groups ignore court rulings."
He expressed concerns about the actions taken by some hierarchs of the Constantinople patriarchate, who express their support to the schismatics, allegedly on behalf of the Constantinople patriarchate, during visits to Ukraine thus causing division among believers.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate and experts deny such allegations and explain the transition by the crisis within the Ukrainian Orthodox Church affiliated with Moscow.
In two years, 60-70 parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) have joined the Ukrainian Orthodox Kyivan Patriarchate, says Viktor Yelensky, expert in religions, member of the subcommittee on state policy for freedom of conscience and religious organizations of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Culture and Spirituality, EuroMaidanPress with the reference to Radio Svoboda informs.
The MP denies that the government is applying pressure on the parishioners and priests to switch to either patriarchate.
"But this is the tendency now – if a priest expresses anti-Ukrainian sentiments in his parish, parishioners usually move to join the Kyivan Patriarchate”, MP said.