SBU accusations are attack on UOC, says Metropolitan whose home was searched

Tulchin, Ukraine, October 12, 2022

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The search of his home and diocesan administration by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) and the accusations made against him in the media are, in fact, attacks on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, believes the Metropolitan of Tulchin.

The SBU told the Ukrainian outlet Strana yesterday that it carried out a search at the residence of His Eminence Metropolitan Jonathan of Tulchin as part of an investigation under the criminal code article for the “violation of the equal rights of citizens depending on their race, nationality, religious belief, disability, or other grounds.”

At the same time, the Security Service said that the Metropolitan himself was not under suspicion, but is considered a “witness.”

However, the Vinnitsa Province chief of police Ivan Ischenko claimed today that the police “seized evidence of criminal activity: printed materials with the appeal of Putin and the Russian Patriarch to the citizens of Ukraine, recognition of the quasi-republics of the ‘LPR and DPR.’”

“Such actions are punishable by up to 5 years’ imprisonment,” Ischenko writes.

Met. Jonathan issued a statement himself today, denying such reports in the media and social media:

I, Metropolitan Jonathan (Yeletskikh), the ruling hierarch of the Tulchin Diocese of the UOC, hereby firmly refute the false media reports about the results of the investigative activity (the searches of 10.11.2022) at the place of my residence and at the Tulchin Diocesan administration by employees of the Security Service of Ukraine, and I also declare that the “evidence” supposedly found on these premises has nothing to do with me or the Tulchin Diocese.

I believe that the aforementioned actions were ordered and directed against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as a whole and against the authority of the hierarchy of the Tulchin Diocese, to introduce unrest among its clergy and faithful, and, in the future, to seize its Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ in favor of the “privileged” religious organization.

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