Russian Church likens attacks on Orthodox Ukrainians to Soviet-era persecutions
Moscow, August 26, Interfax – The Moscow Patriarchate has expressed concern over the seizing of Orthodox churches in Ukraine and criticized its law enforcement authorities for inaction.
“Over the past year since the civil standoff began in Ukraine, dozens of clergymen representing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have been attacked, many dozens of churches have been seized or set ablaze. For some of the clerics, the violence shown towards them by their attackers proved fatal,” head of the Synodal Information Department Vladimir Legoyda was quoted by his spokesperson as saying.
He said the last time radicals seized St. Vladimir Church (which belongs to the Moscow Patriarchate’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church) near Kiev “is sticking out even from the sad catalogue of incidents associated with attacks by radical and splinter groups on churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”
Legoyda recalled that the attack was committed in the middle of a prayer service at the church. This “inevitably brings up the memory of grim pictures of the executions of the Orthodox priests in the 1920s-1930s.”
“Serious concerns are also raised by the inaction of law enforcement authorities whose job is to be guardians of the law, but who allow youths from radical nationalist movements and splinter groups to act absolutely unlawfully,” he said.