Archim. Luke: More than 200 priests of UOC thrown out of military churches
Deputy head of the UOC Department for Interaction with the AFU and other military formations spoke about the pressure on the priests who took care of the military units.
Military chaplaincy appeared in our country due to the work in military units of more than 200 priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, who are now slandered and thrown out of their churches because of the anti-church law, said the deputy head of the UOC Department for Interaction with the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations, Archimandrite Luke (Vinarchuk), in the programme "Right to Faith" on the "1Kozak" YouTube channel.
He gave an example that on the territory of the military units of the National Guard in all regions, except for the Lviv region, there were temples, chapels or prayer rooms of the UOC, which at one point became inaccessible to the priests of the canonical Church. And now only one military chaplain of ours is serving there. “There were priests permanently working with personnel, and at one point, I personally also experienced that, when at the checkpoint you are not allowed to enter the territory of the unit and the temple that you built,” said Archimandrite Luke. "And when you ask the commander to take at least your things, they check you as a terrorist."
The deputy head of the UOC Department for Interaction with the Armed Forces and other military formations said that constant pressure is being exerted on the military priests, accusations of treason and work for foreign special services are being made. “Statements of deputies to the Prosecutor General's Office and to the Security Service of Ukraine, the police that we are FSB and GRU agents. Although I talked with many priests, they say: "I've never even been to Russia, I've been serving in Ukraine all my life but I’m told ‘suitcase – station – Russia’," said the priest.
Archimandrite Luke said that the believers of the UOC make up the majority in the country's armed forces, and this is not refuted by any custom-made sociological polls. Even the fact that many times more young people from the southern regions are recruited into the army, where the total majority of the flock is the canonical Church, indicates this. “There are our believers in the army. And they require pastoral care in accordance with the Law on Freedom of Conscience – constitutional, and not the one that was amended 3 years ago,” said Father Luke.
He noted that despite the adopted law on military chaplains, the anti-church Law on forced renaming contains an article with a direct prohibition for the priests of the UOC to take care of the flock in military formations. Therefore, Archimandrite Luke called on the authorities to abolish this law, and the supporters of the UOC – to appeal to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Ministry of Defenсe with a demand to explain the illegal non-admission of priests of the canonical Church in military units.
As reported, one will have to fight for the rights of believers in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said Archimandrite Luke (Vinarchuk).