Ukrainian radicals demand gov’t action against Church, plan provocation around Kiev Caves Lavra today

Kiev, January 16, 2018

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A number of nationalistic radical groups, including “C-14” terrorist organization, held and event with demands for legislative discrimination against the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church today outside the building of the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church reports.

The representative of the internet resource InformNapalm Michael Makaruk announced on live television about the organization of the procession to the Verkhovna Rada with a number of demands, including, as he stated, “to resolve the issue of the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.”

There are also two non-canonical “Orthodox churches” operating in Ukraine—the “Kiev Patriarchate” and the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church”—which run largely on nationalism and hatred of Russia.

Makaruk noted in particular that one of the slogans for the event is the precisely this demand to deal with the Moscow Patriarchate. He promised that the event would be massive, and that “the enemies must be punished.”

However, as the Union of Orthodox Journalists reports, the police presence was larger than that of the protesters themselves.

One of the activists stated that he considers the Ukrainian Orthodox Church an “agent of the Kremlin” and an “affiliate of the FSB;” therefore he is certain that Bill No. 4511, which would mandate governmental approval of episcopal appointments, must be urgently adopted.

The bill would also give the government the right to ban any Church whose administrative is in an “aggressor state,” which Ukraine considers Russia. While the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church is part of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Russian Bishops Council that met in late November and early December updated official Church documents to reflect that the administrative head of the Ukrainian Church is in Kiev, under the headship of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.

Meanwhile, information has been spreading in social networks that the true goal of the C-14 neo-Nazis is to organize an attack on the Kiev Caves Lavra. About 30 members of the group blocked entrance to the holy monastery on January 8, the second day of the Nativity of Christ, demanding to speak with the abbot of the Lavra, Metropolitan Pavel (Lebed). Seeing the hierarch meet them with such a peaceful attitude, the radicals left, promising to come back.

In response to such commonplace events in Ukraine in recent years, the leader of the parliamentary faction “Opposition Bloc” Yuri Boiko has called on Ukrainian authorities to intervene in the situation with radicals attacking churches and clergy. Several other churches of the canonical Church under the Moscow Patriarchate were also attacked and vandalized during the Nativity season, reports RIA-Novosti.

“We demand that the leaders of the country stop the religious and inter-confessional war which began in the state with the use of radical groups, which are under the control of law enforcement officials, as everyone knows. This is an extremely dangerous phenomenon, which can destroy the state. We insist that the leaders of the state step in and stop this,” Boiko said.

Meanwhile, Fr. Nikolai Danilevich, the Deputy Chairman of the canonical Ukrainian Church’s Department for External Church Relations, has called on all Orthodox Christians to stand firm for their Church: “Today, the protection of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a matter which concerns all believers. To defend our holy sites is the duty of every Orthodox Christian.”

Fr. Nikolai also called upon the authorities to do whatever possible to stop the ongoing strife and violence.

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