UOC Chancellor appeals to Zelensky over situation in Boryspil Eparchy

Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich). Photo: law.church.ua

While UOC believers defend the state with arms in their hands, false patriots take away Orthodox churches, beat and intimidate parishioners, Metropolitan Anthony noted.

Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, the UOC Chancellor, addressed an open letter to the President of Ukraine. The text of the appeal is posted on the eparchial website.

"Honourable Vladimir Alexandrovich!

Expressing our respect and assuring you of the daily prayers of the clergy and faithful of Boryspil Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church for the defenders of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, ending the war and establishing peace in our Motherland, we appeal on the following occasion.

Boryspil Eparchy, like all other eparchies of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, condemns the war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and fully shares all the grief that befell our Homeland and our long-suffering people. The parishes and monasteries of our eparchy help refugees, hospitals, military and terrorist forces and people in need, and care for people who are stranded as a result of hostilities.

But at the same time there are forces within the State which deliberately undermine the situation on religious grounds.

Recently deputies of some local councils have decided to ban (stop the activity) of religious organizations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on their territories. In the Kyiv region, as of today, such decisions were taken by the Brovary City Council – on 06.05.2022; Pereyaslav City and Prystolychnyi Village Council – on 19.05.2022; Novopetrivsky Village Council – on 29.05.2022. 

On 13.06.2022, the decision to suspend the activity of religious communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was taken by the Boryspil City Council of Kyiv region. Moreover, deputies of all political forces which are represented in the city council, including deputies from the "Servant of the People" party voted unanimously for such a decision. This is not clear because we know your position on the need to maintain peace and stability within the country, to ensure victory over the external enemy. Believers of Boryspil diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as well as other voters of Kyiv region, voted in local council elections mainly for the "Servant of the People" party, hoping for the observance of our constitutional rights and freedoms, including the free practice of Orthodox faith.

The practice of seizing our Orthodox churches under the guise of "transfers" of religious communities also continues.  To date, the churches of the Boryspil Eparchy of the UOC have been seized in: v. Sukholuchye, Vyshhorod district, v. Velyka Starytsia and v. Mala Starytsia, Boryspil district, v. Selichevka, Brovary district. Attempts have been made to seize churches in the Boryspil region: Boryspil, v. Ivankiv, v. Petropavlivske, v. Devichki, Pereyaslav, v. Mazinky, v. Demyantsy, v. Strokova, v. Haishyn, v. Velyka Karatul; in Brovary district: Brovary, v. Zazimye, v. Pasechna, v. Ostroluchye; in the Vyshhorod district: v. Lutezh, v. Yasnohorodka.
The initiators of the meetings on the "transfer" of religious communities are often the heads of the OTG (joint territorial community), mayors, village heads and representatives of the local territorial defence. The opinion of members of the religious community is not taken into account, and people who have no relation to the religious community vote for the transition. There is a direct interference of representatives of state authorities and local government in the activities of religious communities of the Boryspil Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

No law or legal act of Ukraine gives state or local authorities the right to prohibit or interfere in the activities of religious organizations, even under martial law.

All these illegal actions are carried out with the assistance of state and local government officials in favour of the "Orthodox Church of Ukraine" established in December 2018.

Such events anger believing citizens and contribute to the destabilisation of the situation inside the country in wartime. Our believers defend the state with arms in their hands and work to rebuild the country. At the same time, behind their backs, false patriots are taking away Orthodox churches, beating and intimidating believers.

To date, violations of the rights of believers of the Boryspil Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to freedom of worship have become widespread. The situation needs your immediate intervention to preserve peace and stability in the state.

We ask you, honourable Vladimir Alexandrovich, to protect constitutional rights of citizens of Ukraine – believers of the Boryspil Eparchy of Ukrainian Orthodox Church, to stop religious hatred in Ukrainian society and take necessary measures against lawless actions.

During difficult trials for all Ukrainian people, we wish you courage and good health.

We invoke God's blessing on your labours.

With deep respect, Metropolitan of Boryspil and Brovary, Chancellor of the Boryspil Eparchy.

As reported, on June 13, the deputies of the Boryspil City Council at an extraordinary session decided to "suspend the activities of the UOC-MP" for the period of the Russian aggression.

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Poll

How has your life changed since the outbreak of war?
It hasn't changed in any way
68%
My church has been seized by OCU members
5%
My church has been damaged/destroyed by shelling
11%
I'm going to another church because of displacement
16%
Total votes: 19

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