Former Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) deputy head: There are no legal grounds for banning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Kiev, June 6, 2024

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The SBU representative laments that there is in fact no legal way to close the UOC, and meanwhile the whole world is learning about state persecution against it, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists.

Viktor Yagun, Deputy Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in 2014–2015, stated in a comment to the Espreso TV channel that in various countries, there is increasing awareness of the persecution of Christians. According to him, “the situation requires bypassing all these religious aspects and a clear legal resolution of the issue.” Yagun believes that the problem would be solved by adopting bill No. 8371, aimed at banning the UOC, but there are no legal grounds for this.

“If we pass a law that clearly regulates the activities of religious structures affiliated with the aggressor country, the problem will be resolved very quickly. The problem is that there are no legal grounds. This is something our adversaries in the countries where we seek support, primarily in the USA, are responding to,” said the former SBU official.

In his opinion, a significant problem is the fact that information about the persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by Ukrainian authorities is being disseminated.

“This situation requires bypassing all these religious aspects and a clear legal resolution of the issue. And a clear legal resolution depends on the parliament,” Yagun believes.

Such ruminating may have been stimulated by Metropolitan Tikhon’s (OCA) recent visit to Ukraine. Last Sunday, June 3, Met. Tikhon served the Divine Liturgy in Pochaev Lavra. In his sermon after the Liturgy, Met. Tikhon expressed his support for His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, head of the UOC, and called on the Ukrainian authorities to respect religious freedom, the UOJ reported.

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