"We are not giving up on the OCU Eparchy of Crimea. We consider suspending its activities," - Shchekun
Andriy Shchekun, the authorized representative of the Crimean Eparchy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), shared this information with Suspilne Krym.
He emphasized that for nearly 10 years, the occupying authorities have consistently and systematically carried out repressions against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Crimea.
"These 'systematic actions' and 'court proceedings' initiated by the Russian Federation as far back as 2016-2017 have effectively led to the destruction and liquidation of the church, essentially speaking. We say 'essentially' because we always reserve the right to restoration, the right to further activities of the Crimean Eparchy. We are not burying the Crimean Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church; we are talking about the suspension, essentially, of its activities in the temporarily occupied territory," stated Shchekun.
The authorized representative of the Crimean Eparchy of the OCU also noted that Bishop Klyment's public statement signifies that even the last priest was able to safely return to mainland Ukraine.
In the first year of Crimea's occupation, Russian security forces seized church premises and other facilities, attempted to terminate lease agreements, pressured parishioners, summoned clergy for questioning, and tried to force them into cooperation.
"Whenever such threats arose, we immediately attempted to evacuate those priests to mainland Ukraine and, primarily, ensure the safety of their families. We have gone through all of this," concluded Andriy Shchekun.