Patriarch Kirill complained to the whole world, including Pope and UN about persecution of UOC-MP in Ukraine
Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill complained to the Pope of Rome Francis, heads of international organizations, religious and state figures that Ukraine allegedly cracks down on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. This is reported by the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Patriarch of Moscow also sent a message to the primates of the local Orthodox Churches, the head of the Anglican community of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Secretary General of the World Council of Churches, Olav Fykse Tveit. Kirill also sent a message to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger, as well as French President Emmanuel Macron and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel as heads of states that are part of the Normandy Four.
In particular, Patriarch Kirill told them about alleged violations of the rights and freedoms of hierarchs, clergy and believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.
“Recently, the intervention of the leaders of the secular Ukrainian state in church affairs has become a form of blatant pressure on the episcopate and the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (of the Moscow Patriarchate - Ed.), which allows us to speak about the beginning of a full-scale persecution,” he emphasized.
At the same time, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church said that attempts are being made to force the bishops to participate in the Unification Council, in which the UOC-MP “should be replaced by some new religious organization created by the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in association with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople”, although it has 13,000 parishes, more than 200 monasteries and millions of believers.”
In addition, Patriarch Kirill was shocked that the invitation from the Ecumenical Patriarch to participate in the unification council was received by the hierarchs from the hands of government officials - and suggested new “violations of rights.”
According to him, "the facts of discrimination against the Ukrainian Church (UOC-MP) give rise to fears of further restriction of the rights and legitimate interests of Orthodox believers, multiplication of their suffering for their loyalty to the canonical Orthodoxy.”
The Russian patriarch sees an attempt “to use the Church in pursuit of political goals and electoral struggle.”
Patriarch Kirill called on his addressees “to make every effort to protect the bishops, clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) from discrimination and pressure from the Ukrainian authorities, to defend the freedom of conscience and religion enshrined in international law.”