Kiev, January 23, 2023
On December 28, President Vladimir Zelensky of Ukraine signed a decree depriving 13 hierarchs of their Ukrainian citizenship.
Among the affected hierarchs are His Eminence Metropolitan Arseny of Svyatovorsk, abbot of the much-suffering Holy Dormition-Svyatogorsk Lavra, His Eminence Metropolitan Jonathan of Tulchin, who has been charged with treason by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), several hierarchs from Crimea whose dioceses moved into the Russian Church after the UOC separeted itself from the Moscow Patriarchate in May, and His Eminence Metropolitan Melety of Chernivtsi and Bukovina, who was also the subject of an SBU search.
According to the Ukrainian outlet lb.ua, the given hierarchs could also be deported, and the possibility of introducing similar measures against six more people is currently being studied.
However, Met. Melety, who serves as the chairman of the Ukrainian Church’s Department for External Church Relations, is fighting the presidential decree in court.
According to the Union of Orthodox Journalists, with reference to an official government judiciary site, a case has been opened in the Supreme Court, with President Zelensky listed as the defendant.
His Eminence is also preparing a corresponding lawsuit, calling for a stop to the decree.