Metropolitan Mark (Arndt): “We try to point out that European norms are not being followed with respect to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church”

A group of hierarchs from different local Orthodox churches, along with human rights activists and lawyers, announced in December the creation of an International Human Rights Association, “The Church Against Xenophobia and Religious Discrimination”, in order to draw the attention of the international community to the dire situation with religious freedom in Ukraine. Metropolitan Mark (Arndt) of Berin and Germany from the Russian Church Abroad (ROCOR), who became a member of the new group, shared his vision on the situation.

Metropolitan Mark (Arndt) Metropolitan Mark (Arndt)     

Vladyka, what does this association represent, and what are its tasks and goals?

—What we can see right now is that human rights are being seriously violated in Ukraine. The canonical Orthodox church there has no rights anymore. No rights of any kind, which is totally against all kinds of human rights. The church is practically prohibited to act as a religious community, it is not allowed to have any church buildings, and priests are de facto made criminals.

So, we are trying to bring this to the knowledge of people who fight for human rights, that the European regulations are not being adhered to in any way in Ukraine with respect to the Orthodox Church.

Does the creation of this group mean that the Orthodox Church is entering the human rights field? Or defending human rights has been always one of the main tasks of every Orthodox Christian?

—That is right. However, Ukrainian law assesses and tries to make us believe that they do adhere to human rights, which is not the case at all. The Church is being criminalized, and every priest is viewed as a criminal.

How is it possible to change this situation?

—Only international organizations can do something in order to improve it.

You are the point person in the ROCOR who maintains permanent contact with the UOC hierarchy, including its Primate Metropolitan Onufry. What do you hear from them?

—I do not ask them at all because the moment they speak to me—and they would speak to me in Russian—they are called criminals who act on behalf of the enemy, which is not the case at all.

The UOC has totally severed its ties with the Russian church, and they are not allowed to keep any canonical links to the Russian Orthodox Church, to which they originally belonged. They were a part of the Russian church, but now they have severed their ties. This happened at the Council of Bishops and Priests in May. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian government, and particularly the Secret Service of Ukraine, are making their own assertions, and they are totally wrong. However, they do not care what is right or wrong. They assert something, and they are sure that it is the truth.

This group called on the Ukrainian authorities and President Volodymyr Zelensky to stop violations of the rights of UOC believers. You also appealed to UN special mandate holders, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the UN Human Rights Council with statements about violations of the rights of the Church. Did you get any reaction from the relevant organizations?

—So far, we have received no reaction at all.

Not even from the UN?

—Not that I know of. Maybe they have come, but I was not informed.

On January 22, the Court of Appeal in Ukraine will review the case of Metropolitan Jonathan (Yeletskikh) of Tulchin and Bratslav, who has already been sentenced by the court of first instance to imprisonment for a period of 5 years. What should we expect from this hearing? What should we all do to help in solving this issue?

—We have to pray. I do not expect any justice from any court in Ukraine. It is a country that is totally steeped in the prosecution of Christians.

Does it mean that we can not even hope for justice? And what can we, all people, do to find a solution?

—We, Christians in the free world, will naturally continue to insist on the right to exist. The Ukrainian authorities do not even recognize the right for the canonical Church to exist. This is worse than what was the case in the Soviet Union. Worse than communism. It is a dire persecution of Christians, like in the first centuries.

Metropolitan Theodosy (Snigiryov) Metropolitan Theodosy (Snigiryov)     

Is the situation with Metropolitan Jonathan the first disturbing signal? Or probably not even the first one?

—Not the first one. There were other cases with Metropolitan Pavel (Lebed), the Abbot of the Holy Dormition Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, and other clergymen. All these situations are similar. The Ukrainian authorities a priori consider them criminals.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is the most egregious example of religious freedoms violations, but not the only one…

—Along with North Korea and other bandits, of course.

What is it possible to do to improve the life of Christians, Orthodox Christians in these and other countries?

—If we live normally, in accordance with our canons and laws, it will become evidence that we don't threaten anyone, that we are peaceful people who do not want anything other than to be free.

It is not rare for statements of human rights activists to become nothing more than empty words. Do you believe that you and this organization will get different results, which would allow this situation to be solved?

—To be honest, I am not at all sure about this. I am even surprised that these people are trying to do something. However, I absolutely do not know what will come of this.

What do you think is most important for believers in Ukraine? How can we all help them?

—First of all, we can help with our prayers. Besides that, we in the ROCOR are trying to send humanitarian aid there. In particular, we help the Svyatogorsk Lavra, where the people are suffering the most from the conflict. We also send aid to Pochaev and other places. This is practical help, which is the most needed now. Thank God, so far we can provide it.

See also
New site and video: Save the UOC (+VIDEO) New site and video: Save the UOC (+VIDEO) New site and video: Save the UOC (+VIDEO) New site and video: Save the UOC (+VIDEO)
A new website entirely dedicated to the tragedy of the persecution of Orthodox Christianity in Ukraine was launched this week, together with a short film.
Persecuted Metropolitan Longin suffers heart arrhythmia during search of his car Persecuted Metropolitan Longin suffers heart arrhythmia during search of his car Persecuted Metropolitan Longin suffers heart arrhythmia during search of his car Persecuted Metropolitan Longin suffers heart arrhythmia during search of his car
Ukrainian authorities continue to harass His Eminence Metropolitan Longin of Bancheny, a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, aggravating his poor health condition.
Armed security forces surround Ukrainian monastery that is home to hundreds of orphans (+VIDEO) Armed security forces surround Ukrainian monastery that is home to hundreds of orphans (+VIDEO) Armed security forces surround Ukrainian monastery that is home to hundreds of orphans (+VIDEO) Armed security forces surround Ukrainian monastery that is home to hundreds of orphans (+VIDEO)
The monastery is run by His Eminence Metropolitan Longin, one of the most authoritative hierarchs of the UOC, who is also the adopted father to hundreds of orphans who are cared for at the monastery.
Criminal proceedings opened against Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye Criminal proceedings opened against Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye Criminal proceedings opened against Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye Criminal proceedings opened against Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye
The fiery and outspoken hierarch of Zaporozhye is the latest target in the state persecution of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Court case against another UOC hierarch—his diocesan website had links to Russian Church sites Court case against another UOC hierarch—his diocesan website had links to Russian Church sites Court case against another UOC hierarch—his diocesan website had links to Russian Church sites Court case against another UOC hierarch—his diocesan website had links to Russian Church sites
The Prosecutor’s Office of the Cherkassy Province has submitted an indictment against His Eminence Metropolitan Theodosy of Cherkassy and Kanev, accusing him of “inciting religious enmity” and “justifying Russian aggression.”
Metropolitan Mark (Arndt): “The danger is that there will be efforts to completely destroy the Church in Ukraine” Metropolitan Mark (Arndt): “The danger is that there will be efforts to completely destroy the Church in Ukraine” Metropolitan Mark (Arndt): “The danger is that there will be efforts to completely destroy the Church in Ukraine” Metropolitan Mark (Arndt): “The danger is that there will be efforts to completely destroy the Church in Ukraine”
Metropolitan Mark (Arndt)
This is being sought by those who are ruled by the devil, and their goal is to destroy the spiritual bonds of the nation.
Comments
Natasha1/27/2024 3:50 pm
MOSCOW, July 25 2023– RIA Novosti. Over the nine years of the conflict in Donbass, Russian investigators have opened over three thousand criminal cases, Chairman of the Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin said in an interview with RIA Novosti. “Over nine years, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation has opened 3,286 criminal cases, within the framework of which 849 individuals are being prosecuted,” he said. According to Bastrykin, we are talking about representatives of the military and political leadership of Ukraine, members of nationalist associations, employees of law enforcement agencies, including command personnel. He also noted that the work of investigating the crimes of the Kyiv regime is important in many ways, especially in the current realities. After nine years, aggression from Ukraine and the West has intensified and transformed, Bastrykin believes. “Now no one has any doubt that the crimes of the Kyiv regime need to be recorded and investigated not only to bring the perpetrators to justice, but also for history, so that subsequent generations know the truth about what actually led to today’s events. That is why Russia stood up to protect Donbass, because protecting its citizens is the duty of the state,” he concluded. At the beginning of May, the head of the Investigative Committee said that since 2014, 126 thousand people have been recognized as victims of crimes of the Kyiv regime, of which about 24 thousand are children. In total, almost 260 thousand people were questioned in this criminal case. *** MOSCOW, January 23 2024- RIA Novosti. About 300 Ukrainian militants have already been convicted of war crimes in the Donbass, said Rodion Miroshnik, Ambassador of the Russian Foreign Ministry on special assignments for crimes of the Kyiv regime, on the Rossiya 24 TV channel. “At the moment, about 300 militants have already received their sentences, and these are very serious sentences - from 10-12 years to life,” Miroshnik said. According to him, “in the courts of Donetsk, Lugansk, Rostov-on-Don, simply terrible pictures are revealed when these militants give evidence.” *** Hieromonk Feofan (Kratirov), abducted by the SSU, told how he was tortured (VIDEO with subtitles in English) Mariupol, April 12, 2015 Video interview with the hieromonk of the Holy Dormition St. Nicholas-Vasilievsky Monastery (Donetsk Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church) Fr. Feofan (Kratirov) was posted on the Internet by journalist Anatoly Shariy. In this interview, Father Feofan talks about the torture he suffered in the Mariupol SSU. O. Feofan was kidnapped on March 3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKTS3VI8Ko8 https://pravoslavie.ru/78641.html
Afanassy1/25/2024 10:36 pm
I have enormous respect for Met. Mark. He is absolutely right in his perception about what has happened, re the Ukrainian Gov's hostility to the UOC. And THAT hostility has to stop! However, having said that, let me try to give some meager explanation for why this may have happened: 1) This is a wartime situation for Ukraine, and its very survival is at stake, so anything that may be perceived to give "aid and comfort" to the enemy is suspect. 2) There is indeed corruption in Ukraine ["the worst in Europe", I'm told], so no doubt their legal system is prone to political/military influence. 3) Unfortunately, Met Onufry did NOT declare "Autocephaly" [only Autonomy] for the UOC and sever all ties with MP: the MP still has the UOC listed as "one of theirs". 4) There were in fact rare but documented cases in which parishes of the UOC [perhaps outside of Met Onufry's knowledge] seemed to support Moscow's invasion of Ukraine by songs and harboring of Russian-biased espionage agents. 5) Ecclesiastical interference in Ukraines religious matters by Bartholomew, the Patriarch of Constantinople, to set up an alternative (non-canonical) church organization [OCU] that, by counterpoint, could allege to be "clean" and "truly Ukrainian". So, with the complexity of this mess, Met. Mark is absolutely right: Only an independent, objective European agency can help to mediate a positive outcome for the UOC. =========================
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