2019-02-15 22:14:00

Ukraine annuls Bishop Gedeon's passport

Kiev, February 15, Interfax - Bishop Gedeon of Makarov (Yury Kharon), a hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church who was barred from returning to Ukraine on Thursday, provided false information about his citizenship when submitting documents to receive Ukrainian citizenship, so his Ukrainian passport has been ruled invalid, the Ukrainian State Migration Service said.

"The Migration Service's department for the Volyn Region received certain information from the Ukrainian Security Service in 2018, conducted an inquiry, and determined the fact of the acquisition of Ukrainian citizenship in violation of the law by a citizen of the Russian Federation and a representative of a religious organization whom the media link to special services of the aggressor country. In particular, it has been determined that, when submitting documents to acquire Ukrainian citizenship, this individual provided false information about citizenships that he held," the Migration Service said.

Following an inquiry conducted based on the Ukrainian Security Service's letter, the decision to register Bishop Gedeon as a Ukrainian citizen and issue him Ukrainian passports were canceled in June 2018.

"In line with Ukrainian law, the said person's Ukrainian passports (both the internal and the foreign travel ones) were rendered invalid and added to the relevant database of the State Migration Service," it said.

The State Migration Service restated that an attempt by a foreigner to cross the Ukrainian border with invalid documents was prevented on February 13, that this person's invalid Ukrainian foreign travel passport was confiscated, and that the foreigner was returned to the country from which he attempted to enter Ukraine with invalid documents.

It was reported earlier that at about 6:00 p.m. on February 13, while passengers who had arrived from Frankfurt at Kiev's Borispol Airport were undergoing border-control procedures, border guards seized Bishop Gedeon's Ukrainian foreign travel passport on the grounds that he had citizenships of several countries. An interview with him revealed that he "was engaged in anti-Ukrainian propaganda and was an active adherent to the 'Russian World' idea."

A photocopy of a report on the seizure of a document was posted on Bishop Gedeon's Facebook account, saying that border guards had identified the passport he produced as one listed as lost. The report said that according to the State Migration Service department for the Volyn Region, this document, issued in the name of Yury Kharon, was on the register of passports that had been reported lost or stolen and was therefore annulled and subject to confiscation.

Ukrainian State Border Service spokesperson Oleg Slobodyan said that on February 14, Bishop Gedeon, the abbot of the Tithe Monastery in Kiev and a vicar of the Kiev Metropolitanate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, was barred from entering Ukraine and that he departed for Frankfurt on Thursday morning.