Ivano-Frankivsk, April 14, 2022
At an extraordinary session of the Ivano-Frankivsk City Council yesterday, deputies approved the text of an appeal to President Vladimir Zelensky, calling for a ban on the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church throughout the entire country.
The text was published by Mayor Ruslan Martsinkiv.
The demand comes a week after the clergy and parishioners of the Ivano-Frankivsk Diocese made their own appeal to the President to protect their Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ, the only church not closed by authorities in the western Ivano-Frankivsk Province, home to 1,368,000 people.
“We inform you that our Ivano-Frankivsk Diocese of the UOC is experiencing constant groundless and unprecedented harassment by local authorities! Priests and believers are subjected to pressure and threats. Currently, all churches and monasteries of the diocese, except the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ in Ivano-Frankivsk, are forcibly closed and sealed,” the Church statement reads.
Mayor Martsinkiv is trying to force the last remaining church into the schismatic OCU, the appeal informs the President.
And although the Ivano-Frankivsk Diocese and the Ukrainian Holy Synod have spoken clearly in defense of Ukraine at this time, the City Council declares: “Today we consider it necessary to affirmatively express the position of the Ivano-Frankivsk city territorial community regarding the need to stop the activities of the Russian Orthodox Church represented by the UOC (MP) on the territory of Ukraine.”
Recall that two separate bills were submitted to the Ukrainian Parliament last month also calling for a ban of the UOC and the confiscation of its properties.
According to the Ivano-Frankivsk Council, the UOC “directly threatens the national security of Ukraine” by remaining in the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church. The very fact of recognizing the legitimacy of Patriarch Kirill, “who publicly justifies the armed aggression of the Russian Federation, should be regarded as participation in information activities in cooperation with the aggressor state,” according to the Council members.
The text states that law enforcement agencies have repeatedly found evidence of anti-Ukrainian sabotage and intelligence activity on the territory of UOC churches, though agencies have, in fact, repeatedly investigated such claims and found no evidence.
For the Council, the only canonical church in Ukraine is the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” which was created by Patriarch Bartholomew and the Ukrainian and American states in 2018.
The appeal concludes with an expression of support for the bills registered in the Verkhovna Rada.
Deputies of the city of Malin, Zhytomyr Province, also decided yesterday to ban the canonical Ukrainian Church in the district, demanding that the priests vacate their churches within 24 hours because they haven’t left the Moscow Patriarchate.