By Kostas Onisenko
The Russian authorities are seeking the complete abolition of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Crimea, according to a statement of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
The peninsula, which – according to international law – has been illegally occupied by Russia since 2014, has had a stable presence of the Ukrainian Church until today, through the parishes that once belonged to the so-called “Kiev Patriarchate” and passed to the new Church after its establishment.
According to an official announcement of the Church, the rights of the faithful in Crimea are constantly violated, while the most recent act of this violation is the “eviction” from the Cathedral of Saint Vladimir and Saint Olga, in Simferopol. As it is emphasized, after that the Ukrainian Church practically ceases to exist in Crimea.
The excuse for the removal of the faithful is, according to the -unrecognized- Crimean authorities, the “expiration of the agreement for its use”. This, according to the same source, was accepted by the judges despite the fact that the use of the space, as is usual in these cases, is granted for 49 years while only 20 have passed.
“The Metropolis of Kyiv has repeatedly called attention to the systematic violation of the rules and obligations by the Russian authorities illegally occupying Crimea, regarding the preservation of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. In relation to another act of persecution against the Ukrainian Orthodox community in Crimea, we call on the Ukrainian state, international organizations and democratic countries to protect the Cathedral of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in Simferopol, the Eparchy (Metropolis) and the religious community from this disaster,” the statement said.