Abp. Clement: State uses Lenin's methods in the struggle for Tomos

Archbishop Clement (Vecheria) of Nezhin and Priluki, head of the UOC Informational and Education Department

The UOC hierarch considers the accusations of inciting inter-faith hatred on the part of state officials against the Church look like a farce.

There are no negotiations with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – the authorities believe that the Church can be simply broken over the knee, completely repeating the methods of Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev. Archbishop Clement of Nezhin and Priluki spoke about this in an interview published on the Facebook page of the organization "Kiev-Orthodoxy".

When state officials accuse someone of inciting sectarian strife, it looks like a farce, Archbishop Clement believes.

There are many reports that "state officials and authorities of the highest level are resorting to insults, threats, some other things, which are absolutely incompatible with the observance of fundamental rights," he said.

According to Archbishop Clement, today the government, which speaks of the need to eradicate the communist ideology, copies the old Soviet methods in its struggle for religion.

"It seems to me that the last time the Kiev Pechersk Lavra was searched was under Stalin. I don't know what law enforcers' purpose was when they chose that site. The same happened in the Zhitomir region when they conducted searches and never said what they had found, what they had seized, and whom they were accusing," said the head of the UOC Information and Education Department.

Commenting on the situation around the Pochaev Lavra, Archbishop Clement expressed the conviction that the Church is being persecuted.

"This is officially asset-grabbing because no Reserve ever built the Pochaev Lavra, no Culture Ministry ever invested one kopeck in the restoration of the Lavra, the state did nothing to keep the Lavra in its current state. The state destroyed the Lavra, it turned it into a psychiatric hospital, a hospital for some infectious diseases, etc. And the state didn't do anything else. And now they're just saying it all belongs to the state. Nobody has asked the Church, the people who built it. When did the Lavra and these lands become state property? They have belonged to the Church from time immemorial," the archbishop said.

In his opinion, the pressure on the Church from the state, intensified after the failed meeting of President Petro Poroshenko with the UOC episcopate, is nothing more than a way to force the bishops to take part in the “Unification Council” to create a new church structure in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church representative said he is perplexed by the fact that Ukrainian officials at the highest level are already congratulating citizens, saying that "they have the Tomos, they have autocephaly, everything is written, and they will have everything very soon".

"I don't understand what they want from us. If they already have everything, it is good; if it makes someone feel good, we're happy for other people. Why do they have to force us using such brutal methods? No one is talking to us at all, they believe they can just break us. I don't think that's a way the state should have dialogue with religious organizations," Archbishop Clement concluded.

Earlier, Archbishop Clement (Supper) has reported that the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church has not changed its position and will not participate in the “Unification Council”, which is planned to be held in Kiev on December 15.

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