Moscow, February 14, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church sees a direct connection between the expulsion of Bishop Gedeon (Kharon) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from Ukraine and his recent appeal to the U.S. Congress over the persecution of the canonical Church.
"It was the words of truth he expressed to the U.S. side that caused such hatred of the Ukrainian authorities that they effectively stripped him of his Ukrainian citizenship and forcibly expelled him from the country," Vladimir Legoyda, the head of the Synodal Department for Church, Society and Media Relations, wrote on his Telegram channel on Thursday.
As reported, on Thursday morning, Bishop Gedeon, vicar of Kiev's Desiatinny Monastery, who had been detained in Borispol Airport on Wednesday upon his return from the United States, was deported and sent back on the grounds of alleged problems he had with documents. According to the bishop's entourage, people armed with assault rifles escorted him to the plane.
"We expect front-page stories in the Western media about the violent expulsion from Ukraine of U.S. human rights activist Kharon, who is also a bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Because before that, during his meeting with members of the Congress he had only testified about violations of citizens' religious rights in Ukraine," Legoyda said.
He also mentioned that Bishop Gedeon, a Ukrainian native, had served in the U.S. for a long time and acquired citizenship there.