The Office of the Prosecutor General has initiated criminal proceedings against Metropolitan Pavlo (Lebed) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, Ukrainian MP Yaroslav Yurchyshyn reported on the Telegram messenger on Jan. 19.
The lawmaker said the Metropolitan’s Christmas speech after the return of the Dormition Cathedral and the Trapezna (Refectory) Church of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery to state ownership became the reason for the investigation.
In particular, Metropolitan Pavlo accused the Orthodox Church of Ukraine of attempting to “destroy the holy cathedral and apostolic church.”
Such statements by the pro-Kremlin priest were qualified under Part 2 of Art. 161 (discrimination against citizens based on their race, national affiliation, religious beliefs, disability, or other features) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
The article foresees imprisonment for up to five years for those found guilty for such crimes.