Persecuted Metropolitan Longin detained at checkpoint following another surgery

Bancheny, Chernivtsi Province, Ukraine, April 24, 2024

Photo: Photo: The sickly and much persecuted Metropolitan Longin of Bancheny, one of the staunchest hierarchs of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, was subject to harassment by Ukrainian officials again this week.

His Eminence was physically attacked in his home in late January and had to undergo emergency eye surgery. On Monday, he was on his way home from another procedure on his eyes when his car was detained at the border for more than half an hour without cause, the monastery reported on YouTube.

Such harassment is known to aggravate the hierarch’s condition. His car was unjustifiably detained and searched on a return trip from a hospital in Kiev in late December, and he suffered a heart arrhythmia during the ordeal.

The border officials refused to let the Metropolitan go on Monday, even though he said he wasn’t feeling well after his surgery. The guards also illegally refused to show their identification.

Though officially recognized as a Hero of Ukraine for having adopted hundreds of orphans, the state now considers him an enemy because he staunchly remains within the Orthodox Church. He is accused of “inciting religious enmity”—the same phony charge being brought against a number of Orthodox hierarchs.

His Eminence has suffered several severe health incidents since the state launched its campaign against him. He suffered a stroke back in July, and he was admitted to the hospital in December with atrial fibrillation, after which he underwent heart surgery. Later that month, he suffered the aforementioned heart arrhythmia, and in February, he underwent another heart procedure.

Armed security forces surrounded and searched his monastery in November, scaring the orphans who live there. Furthermore, His Eminence’s previous lawyer, Valentin Sukhari, died from poisoning in November. In early January, his house in in Bukovina went up in flames.

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