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Ukraine sanctions clergymen of Moscow-backed Orthodox Church, one bishop under investigation

The Metropolitan of the Kirovohrad Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate was announced as suspected of denying Ukrainian sovereignty and advocating Russian invasion. Source: SBU.
Ukraine sanctions clergymen of Moscow-backed Orthodox Church, one bishop under investigation

On 1 December 2022, Zelenskyy signed a decree that imposes personal, including financial, sanctions against the clergymen of the Moscow-backed Orthodox Church in Ukraine. In particular, the head of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery bishop Pavlo Lebeda and ex-MP Vadym Novynskyi were sanctioned. The full list of the names is to be published later.
The decree also orders to conduct an assessment of the legal foundations of leasing several of the country’s most famous churches, including Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, to the Moscow-linked church.

Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra

The Moscow-linked church gradually lost popularity in Ukraine while most Ukrainians are visiting the independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine. However, it retained control over several important historical churches. During searches conducted by Ukraine’s Security Service in the premises of the Moscow-linked church, propaganda materials denying Ukrainian statehood were found along with other evidence.

Xenophobic brochures found in Moscow-affiliated church in Ukraine’s west

Currently, Ukrainian MPs are considering a bill banning the Moscow-linked church in Ukraine and terminating lease agreements with its structures.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) has announced officially suspected the Metropolitan of the Kirovohrad Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP), accusing him of justifying the seizure of Crimea by Russia in 2014.

The bishop was part of the inner circle of Moscow Patriarch Kirill, with whom he coordinated the spread of pro-Kremlin views in Ukraine. He is likely to be only the first among other suspects following SBU raids and the collection of evidence.

Read more on why Ukraine is sanctioning the Moscow-linked church:

Ukraine edges closer to banning Moscow-backed Orthodox Church

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