UOC hierarch comments on beating of Orthodox priest in Kyiv
Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) believes that an atmosphere of selectivity, hatred and anger towards people with other religious beliefs is being created in Ukraine.
On September 7, 2020, the vicar of the Kyiv Metropolis, Bishop Viсtor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka, commented on the beating of an Orthodox priest by several ATO fighters in his author's blog on the site "Korrespondent".
Vladyka noted that “real warriors, no matter where and who with they’ve fought, will never raise their hand against a weak person, an elderly person, a woman or a child. This is an unwritten but valid rule. Therefore, this incident has become another marker of what is happening today in Ukrainian society."
According to him, "at different times the Church has been persecuted, because She has always spoken the truth, no matter how unpleasant this truth may be." However, Vladyka writes, "the facts of persecution and oppression of the Church in no way justify the lawlessness that is taking place in our time."
“The seizure of Orthodox churches, beatings of ordinary believers and priests, and even several murders – all this is happening against the backdrop of the talks about democracy, freedom and human rights. And all this is happening in a state that has chosen as its development vector integration into Europe, where such things are simply unacceptable,” the bishop stressed.
He noted that "the point is not only in the general level of aggression observed in Ukrainian society but also in the selective defamation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which leads to such acts of violence".
“Certain mass media and some representatives of the authorities, by their actions, present the Church of Christ in the eyes of society as an ‘enemy’ against which physical methods of influence can be applied. This situation eloquently speaks not only of the violation of the rights and freedoms of believers but also creates an atmosphere of selectivity, hatred and anger towards people with other religious beliefs in the country. This is discrimination on religious grounds, which has no place in a civilized state,” says Bishop Victor.
Vladyka is convinced that "the reaction to physical violence against people of other religious views, as well as of other nationalities and skin colours, should be negative and punishable by law, with zero tolerance to such manifestations."
“People cannot be beaten just because they speak another language and go to a “different” Church. Otherwise, neither our people, nor our country as a whole will simply have no future," resumed Bishop Victor.