Patriarch Cyril of Moscow, who has blessed the Russian armed forces to slay Ukrainians, sent a letter to Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem, in which he complained about the persecution of the “UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate” by the authorities and their eviction from the Lavra.
LB.ua published a copy of the said letter. It should be recalled that on March 11, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church stood up for its structural branch in Ukraine – the so-called “UOC” (in unity with the Moscow Patriarchate). Later, Cyril opened the meeting of the ROC Synod with a speech about the “persecution” of the UOC (MP).
In the mentioned letter, Patriarch Cyril expressed his condolences to Theophilos due to the attack on the Assumption Church in Gethsemane and “full understanding” in connection with the “persecution of the UOC MP” in Ukraine.
“At this time, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate entered a difficult period of persecution by the authorities and organizations of schismatics, who support the authorities and are led toward the destruction of canonical Orthodoxy in Ukraine. A clear expression of this is the expulsion of His Beatitude Onufriy, Metropolitan of Kyiv and all Ukraine, and all supporters of canonical Orthodoxy from the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra,” the letter says.
Cyril sent similar letters to all heads of local churches, except for Constantinople and Alexandria. He also complained to the Pope.
What does it imply?
Russia is trying to inflate the conflict around the Lavra in order to ignite a civil war in Ukraine. The Russian authorities have long been playing the religious card to expand their influence in Ukraine and attack the country’s national unity.
This is not the first time that Russia interferes in Ukraine’s affairs through religious topics. The aggressor power’s officials made a number of statements in support of the UOC (MP) in order to provoke the UOC (MP), which is already, to put it mildly, not too favored in Ukraine. Thus, the Kremlin declared that Russia is not indifferent to the fate of the UOC (MP) priests in the Lavra. The UOC (MP) itself stated that their eviction from the Lavra is provoking a “special operation” on the part of the Russian Federation.
Last year, the Russian Orthodox Church admitted that their Church in Ukraine was in a “very difficult situation.”