Wednesday, March 29, 2023

    UOC (MP) priest sentenced to seven years behind bars for subversive activity

    A Ukrainian court sentenced to seven years of imprisonment (with the seizure of property) the abbot of the Holy Kazan Parish at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), Horlivka diocese, in Yarova village of the Lyman community, Donetsk region.

    This was reported by the Security Service of Ukraine and Prosecutor General’s Office.

    Law enforcement have not named the person in question, but it is Archpriest Mykola Zirka who holds this position.

    The court passed the verdict against the leader of the Kazan parish after the prosecutor proved in court that in May 2022, the clergyman entered into a conspiracy with the military of the aggressor power.

    According to the SBU, during the temporary occupation of the district, the abbot with the UOC (MP) parish publicly justified Russia’s armed aggression and called on local residents to support the invaders.

    In addition, he urged the parishioners to take part in a pseudo-referendum and “vote” for the “accession” to Russia.

    At the behest of the Russians, the priest organized a gathering of residents in the premises of a local club. Taking advantage of the respect he enjoyed among the villagers, he informed that Yarova was under the control of the Russian army.

    Also, the abbot offered to support the pick for the new “head” of the village, who was supposed to act as part of the local occupation administration.

    After the de-occupation of the settlement by Ukrainian defenders, the collaborator was arrested.

    The court found the priest guilty of collaborative activity. He was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for a period of 12 years, and with confiscation of property.

    “The SBU is doing everything to ensure that not a single traitor of Ukraine and collaborator escapes responsibility. We pay special attention to those who work for the enemy under the cloak,” said the head of the SBU, Vasyl Maliuk:

    “I emphasize: the presence of a cassock and incense is not an aggravating circumstance, but they also in no way exempt traitors from legal prosecution. Therefore, the court verdict is another clear signal to all collaborators,” he added.

    In total, in 2022, the SBU initiated 52 criminal cases involving 55 clergymen of the UOC (MP), including 14 bishops.

    Almost 200 clerics with the Russian Orthodox Church are banned from entering Ukraine.

    A number of sanctions were also introduced against officials of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) and Russian Orthodox Church.