US media on repressions against UOC: This is a return to a shameful Soviet era

26 January 10:19
The security forces came to search the UOC eparchy. Photo: SBU The security forces came to search the UOC eparchy. Photo: SBU

An op-ed in The American Conservative claims that Zelenskiyy intends to completely outlaw and destroy the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

On January 25, The American Conservative published an article criticizing the policy of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy towards the UOC. The author of the article “Zelensky vs. the Ukrainian Orthodox Church” Yevhen Herman consistently tells how ex-president Poroshenko and Zelenskyy, with the support of the United States, carry out repressions against the UOC, about how the authorities lobbied for the creation of the OCU, and that with the election of Zelenskyy, the situation with the religious issue Ukraine reached a fragile balance. However, according to the author of the article, this balance was upset with the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation into the territory of Ukraine.

“For the first six months of the war, Zelenskyy and Ukrainian officials emphasized that the UOC is a Ukrainian denomination that completely took the side of its people. That took a U-turn at the end of 2022. The central authorities brought down repressions on the UOC; in comparison, Poroshenko’s methods seemed like child’s play,” the journalist writes.

Herman tells about searches in the dioceses, when the security forces reported that they allegedly found evidence of collaboration between the bishops and priests of the UOC and the enemy.

“These findings were often ridiculous. Security officials exhibited photos of children’s bibles, prayer books, old liturgical books, archival collections of newspapers and magazines featuring the words 'Russian,' and Christmas or Easter sermons of the Russian Church patriarch. In cases where there was nothing to find, the special services planted compromising evidence themselves,” the journalist writes.

Herman claims that President Zelenskyy, in violation of Ukrainian laws, imposed sanctions against Ukrainian bishops, and then deprived some other bishops of Ukrainian citizenship despite the fact that this clearly contradicts the Constitution.

“The situation is even more absurd because the UOC is doing everything to help its people in this unjust war. According to official data, the church renders great assistance to the army, internally displaced persons, and the needy. The assistance to the army has reached nearly a million dollars, and 180 tons of humanitarian aid have been delivered for the Armed Forces of Ukraine—impressive given that people in Ukraine are not at all rich and their donations to temples are very scarce. In addition, at the UOC’s main council in May 2022, it adopted a number of decisions to break off canonical spiritual ties with the ROC,” the author of The American Conservative notes.

Speaking about the fact that on January 20 a bill was submitted to parliament on the actual ban on the UOC authorship not of a simple parliamentarian, but of the prime minister, Herman concludes that it seems that Zelensky intends to completely outlaw and destroy the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

“This is a return to a shameful era when a state in the center of Europe intends to crack down on the religion of its own people,” the journalist sums up.

As the UOJ reported, in January, the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published an article criticizing the religious policy of Ukraine, calling for an end to the campaign against the UOC.

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