Ukraine to limit activities of religious organizations affiliated with Moscow


Ukraine will limit the activities on its territory of religious organizations affiliated with Russia and question the status of the Orthodox Church dependent on the Moscow Patriarchate, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Thursday (December 1st).

“The National Security and Defense Council instructed the government to propose to the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament, Editor’s note) a bill to make impossible the activities in Ukraine of religious organizations affiliated with centers of influence in Russia”Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening video speech.

According to Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian state will also have to “ensure of the religious expertise of the status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the presence of a canonical link with the Patriarchate of Moscow and, if necessary, take the measures provided for by law”.

Ukraine, a country with an Orthodox majority

These announcements follow searches carried out in November by the Ukrainian security services in the main monastery of the capital kyiv, place of residence of the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and several other places of worship, amid suspicions of links with Moscow. The Ukrainian services then claimed to have seized several thousand dollars and “Pro-Russian Literature”.

Ukraine, a country with an Orthodox majority, is divided between a Church dependent on the Patriarchate of Moscow – which however announced that it would sever its ties with Russia at the end of May due to the invasion of the country – and by another Church represented by the Patriarchate of kyiv having lent in 2019 allegiance to the patriarch Bartolomé, based in Istanbul.

The Russian Orthodox Church, whose Patriarch Kirill is an important supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had denounced the searches carried out in Ukraine as a « act of intimidation » towards believers.


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