Bishop Gedeon sends a letter to Donald Trump

Abbot of the Tithe (Desiatinny) Monastery of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos Bishop Gedeon of Makarov

In a letter to the US government, Bishop Gedeon comments on the situation around the unlawful deportation and calls to protect the rights and freedoms of Ukrainians.

The abbot of the Tithe (Desiatinny) Monastery of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos Bishop Gedeon of Makarov has sent letters to the government of the United States of America, reports the site of the monastery.

The letters are addressed to US President Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.

The UOC hierarch claims that the Ukrainian authorities have illegally deprived him of citizenship and links his deportation with an appeal to the American Congress on the violation of the rights of UOC believers.

In the letter, Vladyka reminds that on February 13, 2019, when returning from the United States, he was refused entry to Ukraine, where he now lives, as a “foreigner or stateless person”, while he had a valid passport of a citizen of Ukraine, by which he had left the country a week before and which did not cause any questions from the State Border Service.

He explains: when leaving Ukraine, “law enforcement authorities had no complaints with me as a citizen about the invalidity of documents confirming Ukraine’s citizenship, although the seizure (detention) protocol of February 13, 2019, according to which the passport of a citizen of Ukraine for travel abroad was withdrawn from me, declared the above-mentioned document invalid on January 24, 2019, that is, before I crossed the border when leaving Ukraine.”

The hierarch believes that the documents on the recognition of a passport as invalid were falsified after his visit to the United States, "during which I showed a principled civil position on the coverage of events that occur in Ukraine around the Ukrainian Orthodox Church".

The archbishop writes that “in connection with the recent events that are taking place in Ukraine around the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and interference by public authorities in its activities, on February 5, 2019, with the blessing of Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine, at the invitation of the authorities of the United States of America he visited the US Congress, where he held a working meeting with congressmen and handed over the official address of the UOC to the American Congress and to the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, in which the Church asks to consider cases of violations of rights and freedoms of believers in Ukraine."

He emphasizes, “A systematic analysis of the legal norms of the Constitution of Ukraine, relevant laws and regulations directly indicates that a citizen cannot be deprived of citizenship without his/her consent,” and even if “formally, a citizen of Ukraine has a passport of another state contrary to legislation Ukraine, he/she is not deprived of citizenship.”

“I did not file any petitions for renunciation of Ukraine’s citizenship,” states Bishop Gedeon.

He emphasizes that the deportation took place for political reasons, “after expressing my principled civic position on the inadmissibility of interference by the Ukrainian authorities in the activities of religious organizations, which is a gross violation of the right to freedom of thought and religion in the context of the right to unhindered religious activities, it is clearly seen that the authorities are trying by any means to remove the archbishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church who does not agree with their actions, without neglecting the gross violations of norms of the Constitution and current legislation, trying to make such illegal acts look legitimate".

Separately, Vladyka notes that in Ukraine “you will not be surprised by the fact that a number of Ukrainian politicians, representatives of state authorities and businessmen have dual citizenship. However, this does not prevent them from living and working in Ukraine, occupying top management positions in the executive branch, and also representing the people of Ukraine in the highest legislative body, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.”

He cites the example of the “epic with American citizenship” of the acting Minister of Health Uliana Suprun, who, by law, cannot hold public office, being a citizen of another state.

“Considering the above facts, which directly indicate a gross violation by the state authorities in Ukraine of civil rights and freedoms, I ask you to stand up in defence of the democratic rights of not only mine but also the entire Ukrainian people, in accordance with international legal norms,” concluded Bishop Gedeon.

As the UOJ reported, on February 13, 2019, the abbot of the Tithe (Desiatinny) Monastery, Bishop Gedeon was deported from Ukraine. On February 18, 2019, Vasily Gritsak, the head of the Security Service of Ukraine, announced that the vicar of the Kiev Metropolis was refused entry to the territory of Ukraine since he allegedly has 3 passports.

According to Article 21 of the Law "On Citizenship of Ukraine", which calls the legal grounds for the cancellation of decisions on registration of acquiring the citizenship of Ukraine, such a decision can be canceled only if a person "acquired Ukrainian citizenship in accordance with the Articles 8 and 10 of this Law by deceit, as a result of deliberately furnishing false information or forged documents, concealing any substantial fact under existence of which a person cannot acquire the citizenship of Ukraine”.

As reported by the UOC Information Center, the detention of the abbot of the Tithe Monastery took place on the eve of the Supreme Court’s session on the claim to invalidate the address of the Ukrainian Parliament to Patriarch Bartholomew on receiving the Tomos.

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