Lawyer of UOC: Law enforcers pursue UOC clerics under orders from the top

Head of the Legal Department of the UOC Protopriest Alexander Bakhov

Mass interrogations and searches of priests are needed to force the episcopate of the UOC to attend the “unification council,” suggested Archpriest Alexander Bakhov.

Law enforcement agencies of Ukraine follow the instructions from the top when the canonical Church clerics are accused of inciting interfaith hostility without a reason, and at the same time they do not notice the media agitation and some politicians against the UOC, said the head of the UOC Legal Department Protopriest Alexander Bakhov.

“They are searching for religious enmity where there is none. At the same time, they prefer not to notice the obvious facts of incitement of religious hatred, which are heard from the mouth of state officials, civil servants and mass media towards the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” the UOC Information and Educational Department reports the words of Father Alexander.

According to the lawyer, mass interrogations and searches can occur in order to force the episcopate of the UOC to participate in the “unification council”.

"Here we must take into account not only the situation in the Zhitomir region but, in general, the latest events and special attention of law enforcement agencies to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church after the Bishops' Council, held on November 13, 2018," Father Alexander explained.

On November 3, 2018, in Zhitomir, law enforcement agencies searched the home of the rector of the Holy Cross Cathedral of the Zhitomir eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Protopriest Sergiy Gritsayuk.

The head of the Legal Department of the UOC warned that the Church would challenge the actions of the law enforcement agencies and seek protection from the international community.

The Headquarters of the National Police of Ukraine in the Zhitomir region reported that searches of the UOC temples and the private houses of its clerics were carried out as part of the investigation of the one criminal case initiated under article 161 of the Criminal Code.

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