Zaporozhye, Zaporozhye Province, Ukraine, July 31, 2023
His Eminence Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has appealed to more than two dozen U.S. journalists and media outlets on behalf of the persecuted Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Earlier this month, the Zaporozhye City Council resolved to break all its agreements with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, after months of failed attempts to drive the UOC into the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.” Similar decisions have been made throughout the country.
Met. Luke and several other hierarchs and clerics are also personally under sanctions by his own state.
The state persecution of the UOC is best illustrated by the situation surrounding the Kiev Caves Lavra. The state is actively trying to completely evict the Church and monastics from their home, and its abbot, His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod, has been held under house arrest and in a detention center for months now. Other hierarchs are also being held under house arrest.
The immediate reason for Met. Luke’s appeals is the ongoing attempts to ban the UOC on the national level. It was announced last week that the Ukrainian Parliament may have considered bill No. 8317, which would ban the Orthodox Church, on Friday, the feast of the Baptism of Rus’.
Met. Luke sent his letters in the days leading up to July 28. Thankfully, in the end, the bill was not considered by the Verkhovna Rada that day due to a lack of support.
Met. Luke announced about his letters on his Telegram channel:
Christ is in our midst, my dear readers!
Today, the Verkhovna Rada may adopt a law aimed at banning the UOC.
It’s clear that this will be an illegal step. It’s also very clear that it’s very difficult to fight lawlessness.
However, we also mustn’t simply throw up our hands. Each of us, as a direct part of the fullness of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, must, to the best of our abilities, fight for its rights and the opportunity to freely carry out the evangelical mission.
Over the past few days, I have sent letters to more than 25 journalists and US media outlets who adhere to conservative values. My letters include both a description of the whole picture of the growing persecution of the UOC, and concrete facts about the violations of the rights and freedoms of our believers.
I really hope that these letters will contribute to the defense of the Church, which they are now trying by hook or by crook to send down the path of betraying the Orthodox faith.