Persecuted UOC hierarch addresses UN Human Rights Council

Cherkasy, Cherkasy Province, Ukraine, October 10, 2023

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His Eminence Metropolitan Theodosy of Cherkasy, one of the many persecuted hierarchs of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church who is currently facing criminal charges, had the opportunity to address the United Nations Human Rights Council yesterday, October 9.

Like other hierarchs, he is being falsely accused of inciting religious enmity and justifying Russian aggression. The evidence included in the prosecutor’s indictment in May was that in 2020, the hierarch ordered the creation of a new diocesan website which used a template from the Russian Orthodox Church and had links to Orthodox resources in Russia such as (the official ROC site),, and

He has been held under house arrest for several months now. The court case against him began in late August.

During a hearing on the report of the UN High Commission for Ukraine, a video recording of His Eminence was played, who was actually in court at that time (though thankfully, the court refused to move Met. Theodosy to a detention center, though he remains under house arrest), reports the Information-Education Department of the UOC.

The Metropolitan said:

Dear participants of the meeting,

As a citizen of Ukraine and a bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, I draw the attention of diplomats, members of the UN Human Rights Council, and international organizations to the dire situation in which the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church find themselves.

Our faithful are suffering from violence, hundreds of our churches have been seized, the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra and the Kiev Theological Academy are being forcibly evicted from their premises. Many bishops and believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, including myself, face criminal charges for our religious beliefs.

Currently, I am under house arrest for my canonical convictions and public statements in defense of the Church. Meanwhile, hostile rhetoric, calls for the use of force to seize churches, and even acts of public violence against our believers go unpunished in Ukraine. Authorities are making mass decisions to expropriate land plots from our communities on which churches have already been built by the faithful of the UOC. Furthermore, the Ukrainian parliament is planning to pass a law banning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the territory of the state.

I earnestly request that you ensure the effective compliance of Ukraine with its international obligations regarding religious freedom.

Thanks to his speech, Met. Theodosy received the status of a UN human rights defender, which allows the organization’s resources to be used for his protection.

Regarding the bill to ban the UOC, it was reported last week that enough signatures from Parliamentarian Deputies have now been collected to include the bill on the agenda.

Earlier in the same session, the Council was addressed by O. S. Denisov, head of the Public Advocacy NGO, who also spoke about the persecution of the Church.

Late last month, representatives of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine met with His Eminence Metropolitan Jonathan of Tulchin, who was sentenced to five years in prison, after which they promised to attend his hearings in appeals court.

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