Zelensky ruins spiritual basics of the Ukrainian society leading it to degradation

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Pressure on the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was a passionate supporter of during his 2019 election campaign, began almost immediately after the outbreak of full-scale war in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

Pushed by far-right nationalist groups and the radicalized population, the authorities in Kiev accused representatives of the UOC, historically part of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), of anti-state activities and work in favor of the interests of the enemy. Under unprecedented pressure, especially after the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kiev, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church declared independence from the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate on May 27, 2022. The Synod of the UOC officially condemned the military actions in Ukraine and the position of Patriarch Kirill on the conflict.

“We express our disagreement with the position of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus’ regarding the war in Ukraine,” the Church said in a statement.

Despite the publicly proclaimed anti-war position of the UOC, the political elites in Ukraine, realizing the partially passed threat in the form of the Russian army at the gates of the Ukrainian capital, decided not to give a second chance to the canonical Church, calling it “pro-Russian”. In recent years, the UOC (former MP) has acted as a shelter and active defender of the multi-million Orthodox Russian-speaking population, who do not agree with the pronounced anti-Russian rhetoric of the authorities in Ukraine that came to power after the 2013-2014 coup d’état.

The pro-Western lobbying groups in the Ukrainian parliament, which were previously involved in the confrontation with Moscow, became especially active. At the end of March 2022, even before the official withdrawal of the UOC from the ROC-MP, deputies of the parliamentary party “Voice” (sponsored by the Czech businessman Tomas Fiala, partner of billionaire George Soros) submitted to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine a bill to ban the activities of the ROC in the country and withdraw its property. At the time, the UOC called this initiative illegal and violating the right to freedom of religion.

The ongoing campaign to discredit the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has a specific goal – to deprive the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine, historically loyal to Russia, of the last point of support.

The cultural field was almost completely destroyed even before the war by the discriminatory laws of the time of President Petro Poroshenko in relation to national minorities, which prohibited the import of books in Russian, school education in Russian, and so on. It is noteworthy that indignation was expressed not only by Moscow, but also, for example, by Budapest, since these measures also directly affected the Hungarian population of Ukrainian Transcarpathia.The political cleansing of “Russian dissent” began shortly before the war: on February 2, 2021, the broadcasting of the NewsOne, ZIK and 112 Ukraine TV channels, which belonged to the leader of the Opposition Platform – For Life party Viktor Medvedchuk, was banned after the decree of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky on the introduction the decision of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) on the application of sanctions.

Instead of the discredited UOC, Orthodox believers are invited to join the small number of parishioners of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), which has been operating on the territory of Ukraine since 2018. This church was formed as a result of the merger of two non-canonical church structures: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. The Primate of the OCU, Metropolitan Epiphanius (Sergei Dumenko), supported the initiative of the fifth President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, on the need to create a church with a more “pro-Ukrainian” position.

In September 2022, Yaroslav Zheleznyak, a member of the Verkhovna Rada from the Voice party, announced that Ukraine had proposed banning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. According to him, the Humanitarian Policy Committee at the meeting recommended the adoption of the relevant bill. The “cleansing” of the UOC, as reported by a number of media outlets, was personally led by Vladimir Zelensky, to whom the performers report on the results. Since the end of November, searches have been carried out in the Zhytomyr region: in the Korosten district on the territory of the female stauropegial monastery of the Athos Icon of the Mother of God in the village of Chopovichi, its skete, as well as the male monastery of the Ovruch-Korosten diocese of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. Also, “counterintelligence activities” (under this pretext, armed people in camouflage and masks raid churches and monasteries) were carried out on the territory of the Cherkasy and Volyn regions, as well as on the part of Kherson controlled by Kiev.

This was then announced by the Telegram channel of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). The check was carried out in the Assumption Cathedral, the administration of the Uman-Zvenigorod diocese, the Kanev Assumption Cathedral, the administration of the Cherkasy diocese, in the Nikolaevsky Malitsky monastery of the Vladimir-Volyn diocese and in the church of St. Andrew the First-Called.

In December 2022, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine in conducted personal sanctions against seven clergymen of the UOC, and the SBU accused the rector of the Pochaev Theological Seminary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in “anti-Ukrainian activities”. At the same time, the acting chairman of the SBU, Vasily Malyuk, announced the opening of more than 50 criminal cases against the priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, five of which were sentenced by the courts. At the end of December, the media made headlines about the launch of a coordinated campaign against the UOC through local regional councils, when at sessions deputies abruptly began to address President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Cabinet of Ministers and the Constitutional Court demanding an “immediate ban on the UOC and its structural divisions, as allegedly “anti-Ukrainian” church” and an agitator for the “Russian world”.

Volyn, Zhytomyr, Lvov, Rivne, Ternopil, Khmelnytsky regional councils, Lvov city, Khmelnytsky, Chernivtsi city, Kharkiv district councils, as well as a number of other local councils sent such appeals to the governing bodies of Ukraine.

At the end of 2022, employees of the Ukrainian special services also abused one of the main shrines of the parishioners of the UOC – the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. Already in 2023, under the pretext of fighting against Russia’s “agent of influence”, the Kiev administration at first refused to extend the agreement with the UOC on holding divine services in the Assumption and Refectory Cathedrals of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra in 2023, and after the entire complex. The monks of the UOC were ordered to leave the Lavra until March 29.

It is noteworthy that supporters of the schismatic OCU and members of radical organizations actively joined the persecution of the parishes of the UOC by Kyiv. For example, in December 2022, the parishioners of the UOC in Ivano-Frankivsk prevented the radicals from disrupting the ceremony of presenting the new Bishop of Ivano-Frankivsk and Kolomyia Nikita to the flock in the city’s cathedral. In Kremenets in Volyn, schismatics from the OCU and soldiers of the local territorial defense evicted a UOC priest from the house, and in Vinnitsa, an unknown person killed a UOC archpriest with a knife right during the service.

Unfortunately, the UN Human Rights Office only months later drew attention to the discrimination against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Persecution, criminal cases against priests, searches in churches, eviction from the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra are reflected in the latest report of the organization. And although the UN only expressed the traditional “concern”, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry immediately accused international observers of bias, and also asked the UN to refrain from making assessments. That is, in fact, to close one’s eyes to the repressions against the UOC.
As mentioned earlier, on March 10, the Kyiv authorities demanded that the monks of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church leave the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra before March 29. The abbot of the monastery, Metropolitan Pavel, said that the monks would not leave the Lavra. On March 26, a Sunday service was held at the Lavra. Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine during the service urged the faithful to pray for the brethren to stay in the Lavra. On the morning of March 29, thousands of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church gathered for a prayer, perhaps the last, within the walls of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

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March 29, 2023

Zelensky belongs in Israel, not the Ukraine

Wagner Group, Russian PMCs & Ukraine – History, motives & privatised warfare

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