Chernivitsi, Ukraine, December 14, 2018
Updated 12/15/208, 3:00 PM
The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) took a bishop of the canonical Ukrainian Church to Kiev yesterday under false pretenses with the ultimate goal of forcing him to take part in Constantinople’s “unification council” that is being held today.
It was initially reported by Archpriest Alexander Bakhov, the head of the UOC’s legal department, that His Eminence Metropolitan Agapit (Bevtsik) of Mogilev-Podolsky and Shargorod had been forcefully taken from his home by the SSU in order to speak with Ukrainian President Petro Porohsenko.
Fr. Alexander warned in his message that it was ultimately about forcing UOC bishops to attend the “council.” “Do you remember that I said bishops of the UOC would be delivered to the council with ‘protection?’” he wrote.
This information was later confirmed to RIA-Novosti by sources in Met. Agapit’s circle, although various reports from a number of Ukrainian media outlets began publishing contradictory material, some of them claiming to have spoken to Met. Agapit himself.
The hierarch supposedly reported from the road that he was going to Kiev of his own free will, without the SSU, and the SSU stated that its people had had no contact with Met. Agapit. Other reports from within Met. Agapit’s circle refuted this information, saying he was in one car while an SSU car was “escorting” him.
Parliament Deputy Andrei Derkach, a personal friend of Met. Agapit, then explained that the hierarch had not been taken from his home but was approached by the SSU in church and was taken to Kiev under false pretenses, to force him to attend the “unification council.”
As Derkach writes, Met. Agapit was approached by people from the SSU in church in Bukovina, despite the SSU’s denial of having had contact with him, who offered to take him to Kiev to speak with His Eminence Metropolitan Simeon of Vinnitsa.
It is unclear why Met. Simeon would not have contacted Met. Agapit himself.
Met. Simeon is reportedly one of two bishops from the canonical Church who is attending the “unification council,” despite earlier statements that he would abide by the decisions of the Ukrainian Bishops’ Council and not attend today’s gathering.
As Met. Agapit explains to RIA-Novosti, when he arrived in Kiev, there was no opportunity to speak with Met. Simeon, but he was offered to meet with the head of the SSU.
Met. Agapit managed to contact Derkach, who, along with Deputy Vadim Novinsky, managed to get the bishop to the Kiev Caves Lavra, where he was able to explain the entire situation to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
Derkach comments: “Together with fellow People’s Deputies, we hid Agapit in the Kiev Caves Lavra after the attempts of the SSU employees to force the Metropolitan to participate in the so-called council.”
The SSU also recently interrogated a number of priests in connections with charges of inciting religious enmity and hatred and treason, and has accused His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl, the abbot of the Kiev Caves Lavra, of the same, and of planning provocations against tomorrow’s council.
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