Serbian Patriarch Porfiry: Ukraine persecutes Orthodoxy

Photo: Oliver BUNIC / AFP / Profimedia

The Serbian Orthodox Church has accused the government in Ukraine of exerting pressure, violence and persecution on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church.

This comes after the authorities in Kyiv issued an ultimatum to the monks of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, theologians and students - to leave the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery by midnight. The measure is controversial, both internationally and in Ukraine itself.

The Serbian Patriarch Porphyry in a statement he says that Ukraine "persecutes Orthodoxy".

"The Serbian Orthodox Church looks with deep concern, sadness and brotherly love at the suffering of the saints in Ukraine, at the pressures, violence and persecution that the current Ukrainian government is exerting on the canonical church, and thus on the majority of its citizens, considering being the largest religious community in the country. The persecutions culminated in the last days with the forcible confiscation of the temples in favor of the pseudo-church schismatic structure, which has the status of a kind of state church and informal inquisition," said the SOC statement signed by Serbian Patriarch Porfirije.

The SOC claims that the "coming peak of terror" has also been announced. He states that it is a "faithful repetition of the Soviet persecution of the Church".

"The expulsion of 250 monks and hundreds of professors and students of theology from the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, the ancient spiritual source and center of holy Russia, the baptism of Eastern Slavic Christianity and Orthodoxy in modern Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, is a terrifying terror and the grossest violation of the fundamental rights of The Church and religious freedom. The behavior of the Ukrainian head of state testifies that its real, probably, and ultimate goal is to erase the historical memory and all traces of the original Orthodoxy in Ukraine in order to erase the code and historical identity that the Church painstakingly built and preserved for centuries from the time of St. Vladimir until today, writes the patriarch of the SOC.

Last year, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenski instructed the parliament to draft a law to ban religious organizations linked to power centers in Russia.

In January, the Ukrainian government sent a bill to parliament that could disband the Ukrainian Orthodox Church if authorities determine it has ties to Russia.

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