Tuesday, 23 July 2024
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ReligiousRussia

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and Catholic ministries are banned by Russia

  • The UGCC announced on its website on December 7 that it had received a copy of the order signed by Yevgeny Balitsky, head of the Kremlin-established military-civilian administration of the region, and that the UGCC was banned and its assets must remain transferred to his administration.
  • The order banned the reputable humanitarian arm of the commonplace Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus and Caritas.
  • Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Knights of Columbus has helped more than 1.4 million Ukrainians, providing more than 7.3 million pounds of humanitarian supplies and 250,000 care packages and 400 wheelchairs.

Russian occupation authorities have banned the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and other Catholic ministries from the occupied territories of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, the church’s main communications office in Kyiv said.

The UGCC announced on its website on December 7 that it had received a copy of the order signed by Yevgeny Politsky, head of the Kremlin-established military-civilian administration of the region, and that the UGCC was banned and its assets must remain transferred to his administration.

Religious and Public Organizations of the Russian Federation Law

The UGCC said in its statement that the document, written in Russian and dated December 26, 2022, had just come to its notice. An image of the order, which the UGCC said was published on Politsky’s official website, was included in the UGCC’s online statement.

The order declared that the activities of the UGCC “violated the Law on Religious and Public Organizations of the Russian Federation”.

According to the document, UGCC leaders work “in the interests of foreign intelligence services,” while UGCC parishioners have participated in “riots and anti-Russian rallies in March-April 2022.”

The order said UGCC churches and buildings stocked “explosive devices and firearms” and distributed “literature calling for violation of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation.”

The order accused the UGCC communities of “actively participating in the activities of extremist organizations and the propagation of neo-Nazi ideas in the Zaporizhzhia region”.

The document said the Knights of Columbus were “linked to the intelligence services of the United States and the Vatican.”

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Knights of Columbus has helped more than 1.4 million Ukrainians, providing more than 7.3 million pounds of humanitarian supplies and 250,000 care packages and 400 wheelchairs.

The order does not explain its action against Caritas, but lists several specific organizations in the banned Caritas network: Caritas Canada; “Caritas USA,” an obvious reference to Catholic Charities USA  Caritas Polska; Caritas Czech Republic; and two Caritas agencies in Ukraine, Caritas Donetsk and Caritas Melitopol are the actual names of organization’s.

“(Ukrainian) seems to mirror things they’ve said about the Greek Catholic Church — that they stockpile explosives and weapons and that the church is hostile to the Russian administration … (and) is concerned about foreign organizations,” such as Caritas and the Knights of Columbus, Corley said.

This phrase is completely consistent with what (Russia) has been doing and saying, such as “distributing literature calling for the violation of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation (UGCC)” and “promoting neo-Nazi goals” (UGCC). “

He said there was no update on the fate of two rescue priests, Father Ivan Levitsky and Father Bohdan Geleta, who were seized in November 2022 from the Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Berdyansk, located in the Zaporizhzhia region. Father Geleta suffers from severe diabetes.

Both priests refused to leave their parish following Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022 and attacks against Ukraine in 2014. Two joint reports by the New Lines Institute and the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights have determined that Russia’s invasion amounted to genocide, with Ukraine reporting some 114,885 Fighting crimes dedicated via Russia in Ukraine given that February 2022.

Russian media reported that the priests had been detained for “subversive” and “partisan” actions against Russian forces, saying they had found explosives, weapons and “banned literature” in the church. According to Russian media, the two rescuers rallied residents to resist Russian forces and organized prayer services in support of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s Donetsk Archbishop Exarchate said the arrests were in retaliation for the Ukrainian government’s search of the Pechersk Lavra, a Kiev monastery under the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate.

In October, Balitsky told Russian state-owned media RIA Novosti that Russia should invade the Baltic states and restore its historic empire.

Without Russia, he said, the Baltics have been “reduced to a speechless, quivering mass of creatures.”

Politsky says,”Russia will fix this with the power of Russian weapons, to return our people, our citizens, so that the whole world does not become the Sodom and Gomorrah that is happening in Europe now,”.

OSV News was awaiting a response to its request for comment from both Knights of Columbus and Caritas officials in Ukraine.

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