Prague, Czech Republic, March 30, 2023
Another hierarch is speaking up in defense of the innocent people of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Kiev Caves Lavra—this time from the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.
His Eminence Archbishop Michael of Prague sent a letter of protest yesterday, published by the UOC’s Department for External Church Relations:
During the days of Great Lent, when the entire Orthodox world is preparing to celebrate the most joyous event in the history of mankind—the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, terrible events are taking place in Ukraine. The Ukrainian authorities are going to crucify the Church of Christ. The canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church is experiencing unprecedented persecution.
The faithful and clergy of the Prague Orthodox Diocese behold this with concern and grief in their hearts. The Ukrainian people are a fraternal people for us. That is why the beginning of the war echoed with pain in the soul of every believer of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands, and our diocese immediately joined in providing spiritual and material assistance to refugees.
So much misery has befallen the Ukrainian people, but this wasn’t enough for the Ukrainian authorities, and they launched a crusade against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, culminating in the expulsion of monks from the Kiev Caves Lavra. And all this is happening despite the fact that the UOC has publicly distanced itself from the Moscow Patriarchate, offers prayers for the victory of the Ukrainian army, and supports the soldiers financially.
The persecutors of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are following the same path that pagan Roman emperors and the godless Soviet Bolsheviks followed in history. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap! (Galatians 6.7). God is always with those who suffer and are persecuted for the truth.
The Prague Orthodox Diocese offers prayers for the persecuted and martyred Church for peace and for the Ukrainian people, and protests against the violation by the Ukrainian authorities of the rights of the clergy and faithful of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The persecution of the Church contradicts the democratic values of a civilized society.