Ukraine revokes citizenship for five UOC clergy


Eastern Europe


Ukraine's security service officers secure the St. George Cathedral during a search operation of the premises of religious sites in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. Photo AFP, Yuriy Dyachyshyn

The State Migration Service of Ukraine has revoked the Ukrainian nationality of five representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which belongs to the Moscow Patriarchate. In addition, one clergyman does not get a renewal for his immigration permit.

According to LB.ua, the Migration Service decided so in January, at the same time as the State revoked the citizenship of 13 other UOC clergy. The church leaders in question now are two archbishops, a bishop and two metropolitans.

The first is Archbishop Panteleimon of Buchan. He studied at the Moscow Theological Seminary and was sent to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. He served the Vinnytsia, Severodonetsk, Oleksandriy and Uman dioceses. In 2019, he got into a scandal because he bought an expensive apartment in Kyiv, Risu.ua writes.

The second Archbishop that ran into problems with the Ukrainian Migration Service is Victor of artsyz. According to the media, he is one of the youngest bishops of the UOC. In 2017, he attempted to get out of Ukraine with 10,000 euros in cash. He then received an administrative penalty for his action. Last September, the Archbishop attended an enthronement ceremony of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, the Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York.

Thirdly, Bishop Gedeon of Makarivskyi was refused citizenship by Ukraine. In 2019, he was accused of spreading anti-Ukrainian propaganda and believing in the concept of the Russian World. He was then also refused entrance into Ukraine but appealed the decision. The Ukrainian Court of Appeals then ordered the Migration Service to return his Ukrainian citizenship.

Fourthly, Bishop Vyshnevetskyi Spiridon was affected. He is the head of the Vasylkiv Vicariate of the Kyiv Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Lastly, one of the most influential bishops of the UOC, Metropolitan Mark of Hust, was affected by the decision of the State Migration Service. He is seen as one of the biggest lobbyists of Russian Peace, LB.ua writes. In addition, Metropolitan of Hust is a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the UOC.

Metropolitan Feodosiy Platon can no longer apply for immigration services in Ukraine.


Russia responds furiously to the decision of the State Migration Service of Ukraine. According to Russian officials, President Zelensky is committing genocide by persecuting the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova points out that there are four bills in consideration to limit the activities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Ria Novosti writes. "These documents violate the country's constitution", she fumes. "I think this is one of the signs of genocide which is now happening in Ukraine by the hands of the North Atlantic structures and elites." According to Zkharova, Ukrainian President Zelensky does not listen to the public outcry but drives Ukraine to suicide.


Vladimir Legoyda, chairman of the synodal department of the Moscow Patriarchate, argues that Ukraine feels free to do what it wants because Western countries will not criticise it. "The church, the monuments, the educational system are just tools for generating hatred, alienating the world. They are trying to destroy the common past first and then the common future. This is a monstrous social experiment." Legoyda fears intentional arrests by the Ukrainian authorities, he says to Ria Novosti. He is afraid that especially clergy who stay with their church are vulnerable. "By and large, clergy and laity are simply taken hostage. The whole Church is assigned to be a 'hostile class' by a handful of administrators and their foreign advisors", he says.



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