Wednesday, March 22, 2023

    MFA Russia accuses Ukraine of “persecuting” UOC (MP), asks not to evict monks from Lavra

    The head of Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, sent official letters to UN Secretary General António Guterres and OSCE Chairman Bujar Osmani, complaining about the “persecution” of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (in unity with the Moscow Patriarchate).

    This was reported on MFA Russia’s official website on Tuesday, March 14.

    As specified in the statement, Lavrov wrote of “flagrant violations of universal human and constitutional rights of Orthodox believers” in Ukraine.

    “These violations are based on the repressive policy pursued by the Kyiv regime [referring to the Ukrainian leadership], aimed at destroying the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said in the statement.

    In his letters, Lavrov claimed “mass seizure of UOC churches” and “forcible illegal liquidation” of religious communities. This is how Lavrov manipulatively interprets the parishioners’ decisions to shift to the OCU. The Russian official also mentioned the sanctions introduced against the UOC (MP) and the authorities’ move to strip certain bishops of citizenship.

    Separately, the top diplomat of the aggressor power emphasized the termination of the government’s deal with the UOC-MP for the lease of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra premises in Kyiv. The minister regarded this as “an attempt to deprive the canonical Orthodox Church of one of its main sanctuaries under a contrived pretext through repression.”

    “This is, in fact, the peak of the persecution of canonical Orthodoxy in Ukraine,” the statement reads.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation called on Guterres and Osmani to demand that Kyiv “stop arbitrariness and repression against the canonical Orthodox Church”, as well as prevent the “eviction of monks” from the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.