Voronki, Ukraine, November 30, 2018
Just one day after His Eminence Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl, the abbot of the Kiev Caves Lavra, 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 Ukrainian Security Service has begun doing exactly that.
As Security Service Chief of Staff Igor Guskov confirmed to Interfax-Ukraine, the Service began to search through the metropolitan’s place of residence at the Lavra’s dependency in the village of Voronki in the Kiev Oblast this morning. According to a lawyer present at the search, they seized one book.
“The Ukrainian Security Service is conducting searches at the place of residence of head of the Kiev Caves Lavra Metropolitan Pavel according to the article on the violation of the equal rights of citizens due to their race, nationality, or religion,” the Security Service reported.
According to the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, three buses full of Security Service employees arrived at the dependency at 9:00 this morning to carry out the search.
Guskov explained that the searches were carried out by instruction of head investigator national police in the Kiev Province, noting that criminal proceedings had been launched against Met.
As Vesti reports, with reference to the Telegam channel of lawyer Andrei Portnov, who was present at the search, the Service seized only one book, The Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Relations with the State. The Attitude Towards the Conflict in Donbass and to the Church Schism. Questions and Answers.
Searches will continue at other sites, according to the lawyer.
Those convicted according to Art. 161 are sentenced to up to two years of correctional labor or up to five years of imprisonment.
Art. 161 involves “intentional actions aimed at inciting national, racial, or religious enmity and hatred, humiliation of national honor and dignity or insult of citizens’ feelings in connection with their religious beliefs, as well as the direct or indirect restriction of rights or the establishment of direct or indirect privileges of citizens on the grounds of race, color, political, religious and other beliefs, sex, ethnic and social origin, property, place of residence, language or other grounds, connected with violence, deception or threats, including those committed by an official.”
His Eminence was previously branded as an “enemy of the independence of Ukrainian Orthodoxy out from under the control of Russia (an aggressor country) by the Russian Orthodox Church,” by the government website Mirotvorets.
For more information about the persecution against the Kiev and Pochaev Lavras and against Met. Pavel, see our report on the briefing he gave yesterday.
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