Moscow, April 18, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, at his last meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, shared photo images of paramilitary groups' violence against parishioners of the (Moscow Patriarchate's) Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
"The silence of the world community is astounding," the patriarch said at an annual Easter reception at the Russian Foreign Ministry.
"Our Church is being oppressed, there have been attempts to take away civil rights and pass legislation precluding normal registration of Orthodox parishes in Ukraine, churches are being forcibly seized. One can talk about it for long, but when you see paramilitary groups in camouflage fatigues forcing people out of their churches - this, too, is impressive," Patriarch Kirill said in his speech.
All local Orthodox Churches support the Moscow Patriarchate's Ukrainian Orthodox Church in its opposition to the breakaway "Kiev Patriarchate," he said, adding that he showed pictures of clashes at his meeting with the president of Italy.
"Our Ukrainian church is being called an aggressor church, being told to tear up its ties with Moscow Patriarchate, accused of being unpatriotic. But the people keep their loyalty to the canonic order. Those being forced out of their parishes remain within our canonical jurisdiction, very often building a new church instead of the seized one. But there were cases of new churches also being seized," the patriarch said.
"Surprisingly, all this is being covered up by global silence," the patriarch said.