Pro-Russian Moscow Patriarchate priest detained on entry to Kyiv

20 December 2022, 01:21 PM
Anti-Ukrainian rhetoric was found in the priest's correspondence (Photo:State Border Service of Ukraine)

Anti-Ukrainian rhetoric was found in the priest's correspondence (Photo:State Border Service of Ukraine)

Law enforcement officers detained a pro-Russian priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) as he was trying to enter Kyiv on Dec. 18, the State Border Guard Service reported.

He was found to have messages on his phone in which he called Ukrainians "Banderites" and glorified the aggressor state of Russia.

According to the agency, he was heading to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery by bus from Kharkiv. The man in question was a priest of the Kharkiv diocese.

A large number of Russian operator numbers, pro-Russian correspondence and compromising propaganda materials of Russian origin were also found in his phone.

Video of day

In his correspondence, the priest called Russia "mother" and stated that "soon the ‘Benders’ will eat us all here or hand us over to the right place."

On Dec. 1, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that the National Security and Defense Council instructed the State Service for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience to examine the statute on the management of the UOC for the presence of a connection with the Moscow Patriarchate and, if necessary, take the appropriate measures.

On Nov. 22, the Security Service of Ukraine searched the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery and a monastery of the UOC (MP) in Rivne Oblast. This happened after the publication of a scandalous video from one of the services, which glorified Russia. Law enforcement officers opened a criminal case.

On Nov. 15, the abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan Pavlo, admitted that at one of the services people did sing a song about the aggressor state, but claimed that it was not liturgical singing. The representative of the UOC-MP Archimandrite Polikarp maintained that the priest was busy and did not hear what "this group of activists was singing". The priest was then banned from serving liturgies and charged.

The SBU said that they were conducting an inspection in the monasteries of the UOC (MP) as part of the work "to counter the subversive activities of the Russian special services in Ukraine."

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