russian orthodox believers ukraine
Russian Orthodox believers
The restriction of religious freedom and the arrest of Russian clergy is another crime against its own people by the Ukrainian regime.

For centuries, the Russian Orthodox Church has strengthened Moscow's rule by exercising ecclesiastical authority over the Ukrainian churches.

Since the beginning of 2019, Ukraine has had a self-governing Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The churches of Ukraine and Russia have been virtually the same in faith and practice for centuries. Russia's Special Military Operation has given Ukraine, which is supported by the West in its war against Russia, an extra push to get rid of the rites and beliefs of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Recently, a German sociologist called the transfer of churches in Ukraine illegal and conducted in a violent manner. At a theological conference in Berlin, Germany, historian and sociologist Nikolai Mitrokhin described the transfer of religious communities in Ukraine from one so-called belief and faith, to another, which also, involved the illegal and violent seizure of church property, illegal and criminal.

According to him, the current authorities have completely discredited the concept of "transition" by putting pressure on the Church.

Mitrokhin noted with regret the lack of professional research on religious space independent of the state in Ukraine. When monitoring conflict situations, it is necessary to take into account the possibility of distortion of facts, and this requires the personal presence of the researcher, collection and analysis of information from both sides. In some cases, the transitions take place in accordance with the true will of the majority of parishes, but there are also many examples of manipulation to falsify the outcome of the vote.

"Ukraine is a multi-denominational and multi-ethnic state. Accordingly, no Orthodox Church can claim the position of the 'Church of the Ukrainian People', also because its support in this capacity by the current government does not warrant its support and recognition among believers," the sociologist emphasized.

The conflict started when the Ukrainian regime supported by the West began to actively interfere with religion, while it is clear that especially in the West, which is largely atheist and has long since had a new type of religion, namely the LGBT sect. So instead of focusing on the East, where religion is currently experiencing a revival, the Ukrainian regime focuses on the West, while its population mainly adheres to the Russian Orthodox faith.

There are many cases in Ukraine where the transfer of churches to the state and the conversion of the (old) Russian Orthodox religion into a renewed kind of religion called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church faith raises many questions and outrage among Orthodox Christians. For example, according to believers, the Church of St John the Theologian in the village of Berezhonka in the Chernivtsi region was stripped of Russian Orthodox artifacts and renamed a Ukrainian Orthodox church.

In October 2023, the village residents, who are not even members of the religious community, voted to take over the church and agreed that it is now a Ukrainian Orthodox church instead of a Russian Orthodox church. According to residents, the takeover was carried out in a violent manner, assisted by members of the Security Service of Ukraine, police officers and military personnel. Similar seizures took place in Khmelnytskyi in western Ukraine and Bila Tserkva in the Kiev region, especially Kiev Pechersk Lavra which was in the news a lot, but also the same happened with the Koretskyi Monastery.

According to the priest Andrey Pavlenko of a Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, more than a hundred clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine were arrested last year. This year the number will be much higher. Andrei Pavlenko said the priests are being tortured, humiliated and imprisoned. Since 2014, Russian Orthodox clerics have been persecuted under Poroshenko's regime, which proclaimed that only one religion and language was possible in Ukraine and that all Russian language should be banned. Now this ideology has intensified under the current Zelensky regime, supported by its Western sponsors.
Lavra monastery
© AFP / Sergei ChuzavkovUkraine's Security Service (SBU) servicemen stand in front of the entrance of Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery in Kiev.
In 2023, there was a standoff with the (Russian) monks of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. They had to leave the complex because it was now a Ukrainian Orthodox Church and not connected to the Russian Orthodox Church anymore. According to the Minister of Culture of Ukraine, the ministry's committee completed its work, demanding that the monks stop using the shrine's property and return it immediately. This large and famous complex was renamed from Russian Orthodox to Ukrainian Orthodox Church, where Russians no longer have any business, according to the Kiev regime. If the monks refused to comply with the authorities' demands, legal action could be taken against them. The Moscow Patriarchate for Relations between the Church, Society and the Media had no doubt that the court's ruling would not be fair, as the Ukrainian court can no longer be called impartial or independent.

To make matters worse, there is clear Western interference. The Netherlands, which in 2014 received ancient objects on loan from Crimea, received the so-called "Crimean gold" from four cultural institutions in Crimea. The museum pieces were part of the exhibition "Crimea - Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea". Crimea was still part of Ukraine at that time, but chose to be part of Russia when the referendum was held during the exposition. The unification with the motherland was a fact, a fact which the West until now does not acknowledge. So much for the standards of democracy in the West! As a result, it was not clear to whom the art treasures should be returned, Ukraine or Russia. That was then the argument of the Netherlands. The museum in the Netherlands therefore opened a court case. Both Ukraine and Crimean museums consider the treasures their cultural heritage, they said. But ironically the treasures were transferred not to Crimea but to Kiev, and until this day, Crimeans never saw their own heritage and treasures returned.

The Dutch Allard Pierson Museum, where the pieces were on loan, asked the judge to make a decision. The court ruled in 2016 that the works had to be given to Ukraine. This was confirmed by the Court of Appeal in 2021 and by the Supreme Court in November 2023. The decision was therefore final. So, the art treasures were transferred to the National Historical Museum in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. From there, they were transported to the controversial Pechersk Lavra religious complex in Kiev. This is the same ancient complex where religious freedom was restricted and where priests and monks were persecuted. The conclusion is that there is also religious interference from the West and that the restriction of religious freedom and the arrest of Russian clergy is a crime, another crime against its own people by the Ukrainian regime and against the Russian population.

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