A Moscow Patriarchate Archpriest Was Taken to Court the Day After Poroshenko Promised to “Protect Religious Freedom in Ukraine”

In the near future there will be a court hearing where the measure of restraint for the priest of the Rovno diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) archpriest Viktor Zemlyanoy will be decided. According to the website “Fraza.ua”, the corresponding motion was submitted on Friday, March 22nd, to the court by the investigators of the SBU. Arrest is not excluded.

As was reported by the Synod Legal Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), literally the day prior, during a meeting between the president of Ukraine Poroshenko and representatives of All-Ukrainian Council of Churches, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) Metropolitan Onufry focused attention on the fact that against the background of the violation of the rights of believers and the capture of temples, priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) are subjected to criminal prosecution. In particular he remembered Father Viktor Zemlyanoy, who was handed a notice of suspicion.

In turn Poroshenko noted: “I, as the President, as the guarantor of constitutional rights, will do everything possible to protect religious freedom in Ukraine”, and added that “violence can never be a way of solving problems”.

And next day, the priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) was subpoenaed for electing a measure of restraint. The diocese asked for support and prayers vis-a-vis Father Viktor and hopes that the acting guarantor of constitutional rights Petro Poroshenko will do everything possible to show in practice that he defends the religious freedom of citizens of Ukraine.

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Also, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) said that if the rights of the episcopate, clergy, laity, and institutions of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (preventing the carrying out of church services, the capturing of temples, the commission of provocations and the exertion of pressure, threats, etc.) are violated, it is necessary to immediately report it to the Legal Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) at the phone number: (097) 537 55 96.

On March 15th the SBU interrogated the head of the Department of Solving Interfaith Conflicts of the Rovno diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church archpriest Viktor Zemlyanoy. He was handed a notice of suspicion according to Part 1 of Article 161 and Part 1 of Article 300 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

As was earlier reported, a search was carried out in his house. The priest is known for having prevented the capture of temples in the Rovno region. Also, thanks to him, despite the provocations and the pouring threats, the All-Ukrainian Religious Procession was able to reach Kiev from Pochayev.

The local authorities of the Rovno, Kirovograd, and Kiev regions take an active part in capturing the temples of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). They openly agitate for a so-called “transition” to the OCU, help activists with their illegal intentions against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), and even arbitrarily “inventory” temples without any documents.

As a reminder, on Saturday, March 16th, in the Vinnytsia region schismatics made another attempt to capture the temple of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate).

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