Patriarch Kirill is preparing to tell religious leaders about the "oppression" of the UOC-MP, - statement of the SSU

18 June, 15:59
Patriarch Kirill is preparing to tell religious leaders about the "oppression" of the UOC-MP, - statement of the SSU - фото 1
The State Service of Ukraine (SSU) has learned that the Kremlin has tasked Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church to convince the international community that international principles of religious freedom are being violated in Ukraine. Therefore, the SSU called on church hierarchs to oppose this false campaign, demystify the crimes of the Russian Federation against religious freedom, and raise their voices against the injustice committed by the Russian Church.

This is stated in the Statement by the State Service of Ukraine for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience.

The full text of the statement is provided below:

It has become known that the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has long been an instrument of incitement to hatred and justification of the war of aggression against Ukraine, has been tasked with trying to convince the world religious community that it is not the Russian Federation that commits bloody crimes against freedom of conscience, but Ukraine that violates international principles in the field of religious freedom. To do this, Patriarch Kirill, who is personally responsible for calls for the genocide of Ukrainians, the proclamation of the imperialist war of aggression as "holy," and specific actions aimed at destroying Ukrainian statehood, culture, and identity, should meet with religious leaders and try to convince them, following the most shameful examples of Kremlin propaganda, that evil is good and lies are true.

In this regard, the State Service of Ukraine for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience considers it necessary to remind that Ukraine has been a place of religious freedom throughout its independence, where believers of all religious traditions coexist and enjoy equal rights.

The Russian invasion brought great grief and misery to the believers. Since the beginning of Russian aggression in 2014, the Russian occupation of Crimea and Donbas has been accompanied by pogroms of evangelical churches and persecution of Greek Catholics and Orthodox Christians of the Kyiv Patriarchate. Priests and active lay people were beaten, handcuffed, intimidated, and forbidden to perform services in Ukrainian. The seizure of prayer buildings and the beating of clergy have become systematic. Dozens of Baptist and Pentecostal churches, Jehovah's Witnesses' Halls of Kings, Mormon and Adventist houses of worship, and buildings of Christian educational institutions, including Donetsk Christian University, were seized by pro-Russian militants and turned into military barracks, training bases, or administrative buildings.

Since the beginning of the large-scale invasion, the murders of the clergy, including those in liturgical vestments, destruction of religious buildings, torture, and abuse, have become a daily practice. More than 40 priests and pastors, monks, and teachers of theological educational institutions were killed by the Russian military during the occupation of Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Kherson regions; a large number of clergy were killed during shelling in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv regions.

Russian troops have destroyed or damaged at least 630 churches, houses of worship, synagogues, and mosques.

There are documented cases of religious buildings being seized by the Russian military, who used them as military bases or as cover for firing positions. Some buildings were looted by the Russian military, closed or converted into administrative buildings.

It is unlikely that Patriarch Kirill, who is preparing to tell lies about the "oppression of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," will talk about the fourteen clergy of this church who were killed by those he promised eternal life for committing crimes in Ukraine. It is also unlikely that he will mention the 187 destroyed churches where his name had been raised during the liturgy before the destruction.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has not been and will not be given any sympathy by the man who claims to be a "father and master" for its faithful.

It is no coincidence that hundreds of clerics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are calling on their hierarchy to withdraw from the Russian Church and to cease any administrative relations with an organization that does not hide its violent hatred towards Ukrainians.

Ihor Novosilsky, a priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and rector of the Church of St. Princess Olha in Tokarivka village, Bilozersky district (Kherson region), went through the hell of Russian "brotherly love". "Russian special forces," he recalled, "found me on the church grounds and grabbed me after hitting me in the head. They handcuffed me behind my back and put a bag over my head - that's how I was kidnapped. They threw me into the car, on the floor under the seat, like a dog. We lived in fear, not knowing what would happen the next day. I was held in captivity for 262 days: from August 29, 2022, to May 17, 2023."

The Russian Church plays a special role in indoctrinating deported Ukrainian children. From the first days of the full-scale invasion, Russian officials deported children from orphanages and boarding schools in the occupied Donetsk region to the Rostov region, where they were met by Metropolitan Mercurius (Ivanov) of Rostov and Novocherkassk. According to the Russian opposition student magazine DOXA and the Kidmapping resource, the ROC clergy involved the deported children in militaristic and chauvinistic activities and sought to eradicate their Ukrainian identity.

The crimes of the Russian occupiers against humanity have no statute of limitations. The degradation of the Russian Church, the church that participates in these crimes and disposes of priests praying for peace rather than the victory of Russian weapons, the church that refuses to give the mother the body of her murdered son, places said church beyond the definitions of good and evil.

The State Service of Ukraine for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience calls on church hierarchs and religious leaders to raise their voices against the injustice committed by the Russian Church in defense of those tortured, deceived, betrayed, and abducted with the participation of the organization that has lost the right to belong to the Church of Christ.

Kyiv, June 17, 2024.