Berlin, Germany, December 23, 2022
We mustn’t turn a blind eye to the Ukrainian state’s aggressive actions against the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, warns a prominent hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
His Eminence Metropolitan Mark of Berlin, the eldest hierarch of ROCOR, published a video address to the German public, published on the official ROCOR site yesterday, calling for increased prayers.
The ROCOR Holy Synod made a similar statement earlier this month at the proposal of Met. Mark.
“In recent days, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is being subjected to new persecutions. Ten days ago, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky instructed the parliament to propose a bill within two weeks, by which the UOC could be completely banned,” Met. Mark said.
“It should be expected that this law will not only be proposed, but also adopted. Thus, millions of Ukrainian believers will turn out to be criminals according to the law.”
According to the Metropolitan, the intensified searches at monasteries, churches, diocesan administrations, and the apartments of hierarchs, clerics, and the faithful carried out in the past month “are a method of intimidation.”
“All this shows that Ukraine is very far from being a democratic state, and that we are on the eve of a new persecution of Christians in this country,” His Eminence warns.
The UOC is the largest Church in the country, and is the continuation of the Church founded by St. Vladimir, Met. Mark emphasized. The Church already underwent terrible persecution last century and produced many martyrs.
But today this persecution has flared up again, the Metropolitan comments.
At the same time, politics is not the way. Rather, the issue should be resolved by the prayers of the faithful.
“Our task is not to participate in political demonstrations, but to pray that the Church, together with its faithful people, will survive this temptation. And that people have the courage to be witnesses of Christ. I have said before that our weapon is prayer,” Met. Mark stressed, urging everyone who cares about the fate of the Church to intensify their prayers.
Met. Mark has also made statements against the war, calling it a crime that is negatively affecting the Church.