Ukraine “very far from democratic state”, Orthodox cleric says


Eastern Europe


The Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Arndt in Germany fears persecution of Christians by the Ukrainian state. Photo screenshot Youtube video

The plans to ban the main Orthodox church prove that Ukraine is “very far from a democratic state”, the Berlin Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church says. He fears a “new wave of Christian persecution” in the country.

In the past few weeks, institutions of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) experienced more government activity and even sanctions. Many buildings of the UOC have been searched. Security personnel say much pro-Kremlin literature has been found.

According to reporting from Pravlife, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is working on a bill that could ban the UOC’s Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) in Ukraine.

“It should be expected that this law will not only be proposed but also adopted. Thus, millions of Ukrainian believers will turn out to be criminals of the law,” Metropolitan Mark Arndt said in Berlin. He is the head of ROCOR (the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia). He oversees not only Germany but Jerusalem as well.


Arndt has written an article about the issue. He details that Ukrainian authorities were conducting “intensified searches” in monasteries and within the apartments of priests and church attendees.

“All this shows that Ukraine is very far from being a democratic state and that we are on the eve of a new persecution of Christians in this country,” Arndt says in a German-spoken video. “It also shows that we are on the brink of a new wave of Christian persecution in this country.”

As reported by Religionpravda, the Synod has published an open appeal to reverse the current sanctions and call for a stop to the “numerous and baseless insults” against the church. Sanctions are currently in place against some of the church’s top clergy. The UOC-MP also said that despite condemning Russia’s activities, its Ukrainian congregants are still classified as enemies. “This is a gross interference in the activities of religious organizations,” the letter said.

As a result of the sanctions, services that assist the needy and the military have been “blocked.” “These restrictions violate not so much the personal rights of clergymen, but the rights of almost a thousand religious communities,” the Synod added.

Beaten by colleagues

Bogdan Grafov, a former volunteer soldier in the Ukrainian military, published an Instagram video that defended the UOC. After posting it, he was beaten by his colleagues and forced to renounce the church. He was also relieved from his military duties.

“All of the above is a clear illustration of the absurdity and madness that can come if you continue to whip up hatred for the Church, which has millions of parishioners,” he said to UOJ.

Despite many’s hardships, Metropolitan Arndt says that prayer remains a solution to the problem.

“Our task is not to participate in political demonstrations but to pray that the church, together with her faithful people, survive this temptation. And so that people dare to be witnesses of Christ. I have said before that prayer is our weapon,” he said in the Pravlife report.



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