Bijeljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, March 29, 2023
A hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church is calling on the United Nations to do its part to protect the persecuted Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the monks of the Kiev Caves Lavra, whom the state intends to throw out onto the street today.
His Grace Bishop Fotije of Zvorničko and Tuzla (Bosnia and Herzegovina) addressed a letter to Mr. António Guterres, the Secretary General of the United Nations, “in which he appeals for the protection of the clergy, monks, and the flock of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and their holy sites, i.e., their human, religious, and property rights,” the Diocese of Zvorničko and Tuzla reports.
The announcement especially notes that the monks of the Kiev Caves Lavra have been ordered to leave their home. “Mr. Guterres is expected to defend the rights and dignity of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its persecuted monks,” the diocese writes.
Other Serbian Orthodox hierarchs have made similar calls. His Grace Bishop German of Gornij Karlovac of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia appealed to his government last week to stand up for the UOC in the European Parliament, and His Grace Bishop Siluan of Australia and New Zealand has called for his Prime Minister to demand that the rights of the Church and the monastics be protected.
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine also appealed to the UN on behalf of his suffering Church in January, and the UN itself has expressed concern about the situation with the UOC several times. On March 24, it released its latest report on the human rights situation in Ukraine, detailing religious rights violations, with special attention paid to the suffering UOC.