Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has reached out to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the primate of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, to ask for his help in securing the release of 24 Ukrainian sailors who have been detained by Russian authorities since the Kerch Strait incident on November 25.
The hierarch was on his way from Donetsk to pray at the monastery at today’s feast with other hierarchs of the Ukrainian Church, the inhabitants of the monastery, and numerous pilgrims, when he was stopped at the Novotroitskoe checkpoint and denied entry.
His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of Pochaev, the abbot of the Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra, one of the most sacred sites in Ukraine, has appealed to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to protect the Lavra and the entire canonical Church from the increasing pressure from the state.
The Patriarchate of Constantinople has issued invitations for the so-called “unification council,” currently scheduled for December 15, in which is indicated who is allowed to participate in the decision-making work of the council, including the election of the primate for the new church.
A letter of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine was published yesterday by a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in which the Patriarch informed the Metropolitan that his title and position is, in fact, uncanonical.
In an appeal published on the website of the Diocese of Sarny and Polesia yesterday, His Eminence Metropolitan Anatoly called upon Russian President Vladimir Putin to release the 24 Ukrainian sailors who were detained by the Russian border service in the Kerch Strait incident on November 25.
“We can say that they are charging our priests rather illegally, and it’s quite a stretch. I would like to say that we will support our priests. We will pray for those who are groundlessly accused. We will defend our rightness, including in the legal field,” Vladyka commented.
The interrogation of priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has begun in Rivne, against the background of the continuation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s process of holding a “unification council” to create a new church in Ukraine.