13 April 2012, 12:41
Orthodox priest leaves for Libya to hold Easter service for Ukrainians
Kiev, April 13, Interfax - Archpriest Zakharia Kerstyuk, an official with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Department for External Church Relations, has left for Libya for the Easter celebrations, the Ukrainian Church reported on its official website.
With support from the UN, the Department for External Church Relations has received from the current Libyan administration permission for a visit to the country, which is now closed. The possibility of holding an Easter service is also being discussed.
The Ukrainian priest may visit some Libyan cities where Ukrainian citizens live and work in compact communities.
Some 3,000 Ukrainian doctors continue working in Libya despite military action. In addition, several Ukrainians, whose detention became known in September 2011, are currently on trial in Libya. These people are civilian specialists who had come to Libya to work on Libyan oil industry objects.
In March 2012, three Ukrainian citizens who were held prisoner in Libya were freed and returned to their homeland. The rest of the Ukrainians were kept in custody in Libya.
Since the Ukrainians' detention, the media have periodically reported that they were detained became they were really mercenaries fighting on the side of the Gaddafi forces. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has denied this information.
A total of 25 people (citizens of Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus) are on trial in Libya. The trial began in Tripoli on April 4. The people are charged with restoring military equipment used by the Gaddafi regime to "kill Libyan people."