Patriarch Kirill demands intl protection of Orthodox Christians in Ukraine

Natalya Mihailova | 20 August 2014
Moscow, August 20, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has written to the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, setting out instances of discrimination against members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) amid the armed conflict in southeast Ukraine.
Patriarch Kirill demands intl protection of Orthodox Christians in Ukraine

“The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church has called on the UN, CoE and OSCE leaders to raise their authoritative voice in support of the Orthodox Christians in Eastern Ukraine,” the Synodal Department for External Church Relations said in a statement.

The patriarch expressed the Russian Church’s concerns over “attempts by the Uniates and schismatics to cause damage to the canonical Orthodox religion in Ukraine, taking advantage of the difficult situation resulting from hostilities in the southeast of the country,” the statement said.

In his letter, the patriarch mentions the tragic deaths of several UOC clergymen who became victims of the armed conflict, and draws international attention to violence against clerics and the ongoing attempts to oppress and intimidate representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox clergy.

The patriarch also points to the substantial material damage caused to the Ukrainian Orthodox churches and monasteries, which have sheltered thousands of refugees who received help within the church’s walls during the armed standoff.

“In his letter, His Holiness expresses hope that the highest level international organizations will not remain indifferent to the problems faced by the UOC, the largest religious organization in Ukraine, which, not being a politically-biased force, continues to provide pastoral care to millions of believers under the most difficult conditions,” the statement said.

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