After the searches in eight buildings of several eparchies of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) in Zhytomyr region, police found evidence of organized network distributing materials inciting religious discord at the premises of the priests, the press service of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) reports.
“In recent days, the law enforcers held a number of searches in administrative premises of Ukrainian Orthodox Church and private buildings, which belong to the representatives of this confession. Many printed materials containing evidence of inciting religious and confessional discord,” reads the message.
It is also added that 75 copies of leaflets “Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Relations with state. Attitude towards anti-terrorist operation and church dissent. Questions and answers”, which has already appeared on the radar screen of Ukraine’s Security Services and which has already got expert's conclusion. Namely, according to the expertise of Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise the publication “contains propaganda of religious intolerance, violates feelings of citizens due to their religious views, incites religious and confessional discord.”
“The rest of the materials taken shall also be given an estimate,” the service stated.
Head of legal department of Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) archpriest Oleksandr Bakhov reported on his Facebook page that the SBU summoned 20 priests of this confession for questioning in Rivne region today.
“The investigator summons the priests at 10:00. According to my information, the questioning shall be held in the frameworks of the criminal case on state treason and religious discord,” he noted.
As we reported earlier, Ukraine’s Security Service conducted searches at the place of residence of Pavlo, the archpriest of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, within the probe of stirring up religious hatred, which is a subject to Criminal Code of Ukraine on November 3.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate struggled for the autocephaly since the country gained independence in 1991. For his firm stance in this regard, Patriarch Filaret, the current leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate, was stripped of his orders in 1992, as the Russian Orthodox Church imposed the anathema on him. Most recently, the Ecumenical Patriarchate lifted it from him. This decision, and the subsequent decision to grant Ukraine Tomos outraged the Russian Orthodox Church, which already promised 'a tough and decisive response.'
On Thursday, November 29, the Synodus of Ecumenical Patriarchate released a communique about the preliminary draft project of the statute of the future Ukrainian Church.