Kiev, June 20, 2019
In the 6 months since Patriarch Bartholomew and former President Petro Poroshenko created the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) at the “unification council” held in Kiev on December 15, radical schismatics have captured 85 church buildings from the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, Archpriest Alexander Bakhov, chairman of the Ukrainian Church’s legal department, told Orthodox Life.
“At the moment, we have recorded 85 such cases. This includes wrongful and illegal actions to seize property,” Fr. Alexander said, adding that cases of violent seizure are rare, but do exist.
In his view, not much has yet changed with the advent of the new administration of President Vladimir Zelensky, but there is hope for fixing the current situation.
“We hope that … all religious and property issues will be resolved legally, within the legal field,” Fr. Alexander noted.
Meanwhile, at a meeting of representatives of diocesan legal departments yesterday, His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Bovary, the chancellor of the Ukrainian Church, stated that 222 churches altogether have been illegally re-registered to the schismatic OCU, with more than 150 of those occurring just in the Volyn, Chernivtsi, and Khmelnitsky Provinces, reports the Church’s legal department.
Despite such difficult conditions, Met. Anthony stressed that “it is necessary to further intensify, unite, and assist one another in providing reliable information for further fruitful work in defending the violated rights of religious citizens and religious communities.”
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