U.S.A., February 16, 2023
A new petition calling on the Orthodox hierarchs and jurisdictions and other religious organizations in America to raise their voices against the state persecution of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church has gathered more than 1,200 signatures since it was published on Monday.
The petition was published by Orthodox Reflections, “a collaborative effort by committed Orthodox Christians to provide thoughtful analysis of the Orthodox Christian faith’s interaction with American culture.”
The document, which calls for all concerned Christian bodies “to immediately draft statements decrying the persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and demanding its immediate cessation,” has already been sent to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, all individual Orthodox jurisdictions in America, individual hierarchs, and various other Christian clerics, journalists, outlets, and politicians.
The petition has been signed by concerned Christians from around the world.
Read the text of the petition, including links for where to sign:
To the Holy Hierarchs of the Orthodox Church Serving in the United States, all other Orthodox Christians, faithful Roman Catholics, concerned Protestants, and those who support Freedom of Christian Worship:
The war plaguing the Ukraine at this time is the business of politicians and generals. It is a symptom of our fallen world, and a great tragedy for humanity. It is the responsibility of the Orthodox Church to minister lovingly to all those afflicted in this terrible struggle on both sides. It is equally the business of the Orthodox Church, particularly in the United States and the West, to speak out in opposition to the ongoing persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The Ukrainian Government, which is wholly dependent on American (over 100 billion dollars) and Western support for its very survival, has engaged in a campaign of terror against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Onuphry (who recently appealed to the UN and world community in desperation for help). This evil campaign has been endorsed by the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, which stands to be the primary beneficiary of the repression of the canonical Orthodox Church.
Our Orthodox hierarchs have been largely silent in the face of Christian persecution which we, as unfortunate tax payers of NATO nations, are actually funding. As Saint Gregory Palamas reminds us, the silence of the clergy is atheism. We demand an end to this silence.
Below is the text of the petition, signed by hundreds of concerned Christians and still growing, demanding that the Orthodox Christian hierarchy, the Roman Catholic hierarchy, human rights organizations, global institutions, Western politicians, and others speak up and demand a restoration of the freedom of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. If you are an official organization or government official, please email us to get a full list of signatures.
Petition to End the Silence on Christian Persecution in Ukraine
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the canonical church in Ukraine headed by Metropolitan Onuphry. Prior to the war, approximately 70% of the population of Ukraine belonged to the UOC. Ukrainians overwhelmingly supported their Church, despite having been subjected to politically motivated persecution for many years. The violations of human rights directed at Orthodox Christians in Ukraine have included: forcible seizure / closure of parishes, unlawful arrests, physical abuse, abusive searches of holy sites, desecrations of holy objects, intentional targeting of parishes and holy sites for military attack, and acts of physical intimidation. Recently, local governments have banned the Ukrainian Church from even operating in their areas. President Zelensky of Ukraine has threatened to make this ban nationwide. The main churches of Kiev Caves Lavra have been removed from UOC jurisdiction, and schismatics have been allowed to use them for services.
We, the undersigned Orthodox Christians and allied Christians of good conscience, note three things. First, the situation in Ukraine is unjustified Christian persecution that violates all global norms. Second, the Ukrainian Government is wholly dependent on Western financial and military support for its continued existence. Therefore, Christians in the West bear a substantial responsibility to speak for the Ukrainian victims of persecution. Third, protests from official organizations matter more to those in power than collections of citizens.
Therefore, we signers of this petition call upon the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, all Orthodox jurisdictions in the West, all official Orthodox Christian ministries and institutions of higher education, all human rights organizations, the Roman Catholic Church, all other Christian bodies of good will, and any other concerned organizations to immediately draft statements decrying the persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and demanding its immediate cessation. We cannot be silent in the face of Christian persecution enabled by our own governments. Please join us in ending the persecution of the Body of Christ in Ukraine.
A Ukrainian petition calling for the state not to ban the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church has garnered 20,560 signatures out of the 25,000 needed for the government to officially consider it.