Hundreds rally in support of persecuted Metropolitan Longin of UOC in Romania and Moldova

Bucharest and Chișinău, December 6, 2023

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Hundreds of faithful Orthodox Christians took to the streets outside the Ukrainian embassies in Bucharest and Chișinău yesterday in protest of the Ukrainian state’s persecution of His Eminence Metropolitan Longin of Bancheny of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Met. Longin, ethnically Romanian, is greatly beloved by the Romanian people and is one of the most authoritative hierarchs of the UOC. However, because he firmly stands with canonical Orthodoxy, he has become a target of the Ukrainian authorities, despite holding the title of “Hero of Ukraine” for great efforts to love and raise hundreds of orphans.

Like many other hierarchs, Met. Longin is accused of “inciting religious enmity,” and last month, armed security forces surrounded and searched the Holy Ascension Monastery where the hierarch is abbot, frightening his adopted children.

As of 11:00 AM yesterday, about 300 people had gathered outside the Ukrainian embassy in Bucharest in support of Met. Longin and the Romanian-speaking residents of Ukraine whose right are violated, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists.

The protestors demanded that the Ukrainian authorities stop the aggression against the faithful, guarantee Ukrainians the right to freedom of religion, and ensure the safety and freedom of Met. Longin.

The people held banners reading, “If you’re against God, who are you with?” “We defend the faith that our fathers bequeathed to us,” “Don’t leave orphans without their father, Met. Longin,” “Met. Longin is a Romanian Orthodox martyr from Ukraine,” and more.

And in Chișinău, Moldova, about 100 people gathered at the Ukrainian embassy in support of Met. Longin with banners with similar messages.

A protest in support of Met. Longin was also held in Bucharest on November 17.

The rallies were timed to another session of the trial against Met. Longin, though it was again postponed due to the failure of the “victims” to appear. Speaking to the crowd gathered at the court house, the bishop’s lawyer noted that the “victims” never seem to appear.

Met. Longin noted that the state’s moves against him and the continual delay of his trial also prevents him from undergoing necessary chemotherapy after having a malignant tumor removed three years ago. His Eminence also suffered a severe stroke in July, amidst the state’s campaign against him and the Church.

His Eminence’s previous lawyer, Valentin Sukhari, died from poisoning last month.

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