Kiev, December 13, 2018
The pressure and persecution against His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl, the abbot of the Kiev Caves Lavra, continues, as the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) has accused him of planning disruptions against Saturday’s “unification council.”
The counterintelligence agency, the successor to the KGB in Ukraine, offered no evidence for its accusations during its briefing aired by the Ukrainian station Pryamii (“Live”).
“The SSU has documented intentions to organize provocations in Kiev and in other regions on the eve of and during unification council and the creation of a local church,” said SSU Deputy Director Viktor Kononenko.
He says that a Fr. Paul of the Lavra was to be the one coordinating the actions, which they claim to have later determined to be Met. Pavel himself.
The SSU earlier conducted a search at Met. Pavel’s residence at the Lavra’s dependency in the village of Voronki in the Kiev Oblast, where they seized the brochure The Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Relations with the State. The Attitude Towards the Conflict in Donbass and to the Church Schism. Questions and Answers.
The search came just one day after Met. Pavel spoke about the pressure against him and many other hierarchs and clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, saying, “I wouldn’t be surprised if there were searches and harassments.”
The SSU has confiscated the same aforementioned brochure from various churches and priests’ homes as well, deeming it evidence of illegally inciting religious hatred and enmity and of treason.
Konenko also stated that the SSU has gathered enough evidence against the priests, reports Interfax-Religion.
“There is relevant evidence,” he said. “And during the interrogations of the priests too. Materials that we confiscated are placed on the SSU website—you can look for yourself, whether they’re legal or illegal.”
And speaking to the heart of the matter, he added: “I believe that if they talk about they’re being one faith and all the other faithful are non-canonical, schismatics, it’s a limitation of their rights.”
While the SSU accuses the hierarchs and clergy of the canonical Ukrainian Church of possessing and distributing hateful brochures, it has released its own brochures, available on its official website, that seek to paint the Ukrainian Church as a tool of Russian aggression.
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