Chernivtsi, Ukraine, May 23, 2023
Ukraine’s latest hierarchical target is one of the most beloved and authoritative bishops of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
His Eminence Metropolitan Longin, vicar of the Diocese of Chernivtsi and Bukovina and abbot of the Holy Ascension-Bancheny Monastery, is known for his fiery preaching and condemnation of the schismatics and the state’s persecution of the Church.
He is also known as a father of orphans. Since the early 1990s, he has adopted more than 400 orphans, who have been taken care of at the orphanage run by his monastery. In 2008, he was formally awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine for his tireless efforts.
But now that hero is targeted as a state enemy, for “inciting religious enmity”—the same charge that has been brought against several other hierarchs.
On May 19, the Metropolitan received a summons to be interrogated at the local police department yesterday, reports the Chernivtsi-Bukovina Diocese.
“I have been and remain faithful to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry. I ask God’s help to remain faithful to the canonical Orthodox Church to the end and to preserve the purity of our Orthodox faith,” His Eminence commented.
“We will suffer, we will endure, but we won’t sell either the Church or the state. We always remain with the people.”
Hundreds of clerics, monastics, and laymen gathered at the Chernivtsi police department yesterday to show their prayerful support for their beloved Met. Longin. Footage from the scene shows how the faithful read prayers in front of armed police while His Eminence was being interrogated:
Eyewitnesses report that a number of participants were also given police summons during the prayer stand.
“The police won’t let people in. If you’re an Orthodox bishop, then, of course, you’re a criminal. If you’re a bishop who adopted 400 orphans, it’s difficult to imagine a worse crime,” the diocese sarcastically noted.
Met. Longin thanked the crowd upon leaving the police department, encouraging them to continue praying and to be very careful.
The State Security Service then announced that the hierarch is under official suspicion for his homilies in which he referred to the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” as the “church of the antichrist” and “satanic.”
According to a source closed to Met. Longin, the authorities delayed their plans to impose a “preventative measure” upon the hierarch due to the huge turnout of people who love the bishop.