Kiev, April 27, 2023
The World Council of Churches should do everything it can to put a stop to the persecution of the martyric Ukrainian Orthodox Church, says one outspoken hierarch of the Jerusalem Patriarchate.
During a meeting with a WCC delegation in Jerusalem on Tuesday, April 25, His Eminence Archbishop Theodosius of Sebastia spoke of the persecution of the canonical UOC by the Kiev authorities as “real criminal acts,” reports the Russian Church’s Department for External Church Relations.
The Archbishop said:
All Christian churches in the world, together with the World Council of Churches, need to stop these truly terrible crimes against this well-known Church all over the world. Orthodoxy has existed on the Ukrainian land for more than 1,000 years, and now this land itself is suffering from war and incessant violence. As we can see, the real purpose of the current pressure on the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church is to promote an alternative non-canonical structure in its place. It was created by agreement between Western countries and the Kiev authorities, who dragged their country into the war, wanting to serve the greedy and imperious claims of the West.
He especially noted that the authorities are doing everything they can to transfer the sacred Kiev Caves Lavra to the unrecognized schismatics. The Lavra is “the center of the spiritual life, not a museum as President Zelensky of Ukraine wants it,” he said.
The WCC itself expressed concern over the fate of the Lavra last month.
Given the uncertain fate of the Lavra and the UOC as a whole, the Jerusalem hierarch called on the WCC to take “all appropriate actions to protect and help the suffering martyric Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is being subjected to terrible persecution today.”
His Eminence also raised his voice in a meeting with another ecclesiastical delegation last month, saying: “We perceive the persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as persecution of the whole Church.”