TASS News Agency reported on December 3rd that the Ukrainian SBU (the SBU, analogous to the FSB in Russia) is presently questioning about twenty priests from two eparchies of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).
This report comes from the leader of the opposition party in Ukraine’s own Verkhovna Rada (Parliament), a man by the name of Vadim Novinsky. (emphasis added):
“At this very moment, SBU investigators are questioning about 20 priests from the Rovno and Sarny Eparchies of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” he said.
According to Novinsky, such actions are aimed at exerting pressure on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church “for one purpose – to compel the prelates of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to participate in the unification council of the so-called church, which the people are already calling ‘the church of the Poroshenko Patriarchate’.”
OrthoChristian.com had more information on the situation in its report (emphasis added):
The Ukrainian Security Service, the nation’s successor to the KGB and counterintelligence and anti-terrorism agency, has begun summoning priests of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church for interrogation.
About 20 priests of the Rivne Diocese and the deans of the Sarny Diocese of the Ukrainian Church recently received summons for questioning from the Ukrainian Security Service in the Rivne Province, all being called to appear on Wednesday at 10:00 AM.
The Rivne Diocese is among the many that have officially expressed their support for the canonical status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its primate His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
News of the summons comes just after Security Service employees took part in an unannounced “inventory” of sacred items at the Kiev Caves Lavra and three buses full of Security Service members searched the residence of the Lavra’s abbot His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl. It was also earlier reported that the Service has been summoning hierarchs as well.
According to the Union of Orthodox Journalists, the priests of the Dubno Deanery in the Rivne Province are the first to be targeted by the Security Services.
The priests were summoned to be questioned as witnesses but with no explanation as to what they would be testifying about, reports the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
As the Church site states, such provocations against the hierarchs and clergy of the Church have increased since the Bishops’ Council of the Ukrainian Church adopted a number of resolutions on November 13 rejecting Constantinople’s decisions of October 11: “In particular, illegal actions near the residences of diocesan offices and bishops of the UOC were carried out. Additionally, the systematic calling of the bishops of the UOC for conversations with the Ukrainian Security Service began.”
These increased provocations fly in the face of the October 11th statement, which specifically stated:
“…to appeal to all sides involved that they avoid appropriation of churches, monasteries, and other properties as well as every other act of violence and retaliation so that he peace and love of Christ may prevail.”
The fact that Patriarch Bartholomew has said absolutely nothing about the absolutely anti-Christian activity taking place in Ukraine since his declaration was issued shows that the Ecumenical Patriarch is compromised. One important fact about the Ukrainian “Fake Church” being created is that to date, not one person associated with this group’s formation has said so much as a word about Jesus Christ, or about following the will of God.
Given that the Eastern Orthodox Church is supposed to be dedicated to Christ as its head, and given that the Metropolitan of the canonical Church in Ukraine has talked about the Lord and staying focused on Him, it becomes clear that this “church” is fake, and has no function other than to be a vehicle for “anything BUT Christ” in its activities.
This is a major tragedy for a nation that suffered severely from religious persecution under Communism, made all the worse by an apparent deception of the millions of faithful Ukrainians who are involved in the breakaway churches in good faith, as they are becoming swept up in the globalism and secularism of the West.
The OrthoChristian article had more to say:
And the Church believes the purpose of this pressure is to force hierarchs and clergy into participating in and supporting the so-called “unification council” that Constantinople is organizing to create a new church in Ukraine.
According to Archpriest Alexander Bakhov, the head of the Ukrainian Church’s legal department, “Given the systematic nature, the simultaneity, and the mass character, these actions are aimed at the bishops with the purpose of pressuring and forcing them to participate in the ‘unification council.’”
He also stressed that these provocations are clear violations of the hierarchs’ and priests’ rights as Ukrainian citizens.
The Union of Orthodox Journalists spoke with several priests who received summons but are still perplexed about what is going on.
“I called a lawyer and together we drove up to the office, the summons was given, but not charges were pronounced. At this point, I still don’t understand what is going on,” sad Archpriest Ivan Savchuk.
And Archpriest Vasily Nachev, the head of the Rivne Diocese’s Social Department, reflects: “I was trying to figure out why I was summoned, but to no avail. Am I surprised? No, such actions are expected in light of recent Church events.
In fact, this is the beginning of what the Holy Fathers warned about.”
There are also reports that the Security Service is preparing provocations in more than 20 churches of the canonical Ukrainian Church that are considered architectural monuments.
Such pressure, provocations, and attacks are only increasing against the background of Constantinople’s work towards creating a new, autocephalous church in Ukraine. The canonical Ukrainian Church has declared that it will remain faithful to the Ukrainian Church and not take part in the so-called “unification council.”
Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, the Secretary on Inter-Orthodox Relations for the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Relations, stated that the Patriarchate of Constantinople is “morally responsible” for the present oppression of the Church in Ukraine.
“Searches at the abbot of the Kiev Caves Lavra’s place are one of the many examples of discrimination and undisguised pressure on the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is the largest religious confession in the country. The purpose of this pressure is to force the hierarchs of the UOC to participate in the so-called unification council, designed to establish a new Orthodox church in Ukraine, supported by Constantinople,” Fr. Igor commented to RIA-Novosti.
“Moral responsibility for the persecution of the canonical clergy in Ukraine belongs to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, at whose order the above-mentioned council is being organized,” the Church representative added.
On Friday, agents from the Ukrainian spy agency conducted searches at the residence of Metropolitan Pavel, the head of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra (or the Kiev Monastery of the Caves), as well as in the monastery’s country farm located in the Voronkov settlement, in the Kiev Region. The SBU was investigating Metropolitan Pavel under a criminal code covering “violations of civil equality depending on ethnic or religious background, and incitement to religious hostility.” A booklet and Metropolitan Pavel’s international passport were seized during the searches. The Lavra’s head slammed the spy agency’s actions as political pressure on him.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.