Moscow, February 18, Interfax - Bishop Viktor (Kotsaba), head of the Representative Office of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) to the European international organizations, has addressed officials from the UN, the OSCE, the EU and several countries in connection with human rights violations in Ukraine and the threat of escalation of religious conflicts.
"To our great regret, Ukraine's Orthodox Christians have become pawns of the political game of the top officials of the state, who have involved in these processes Constantinople Patriarch Bartholomew, which has already led to numerous conflicts based on religion," the bishop said in his video address released on Monday.
The bishop said the attempt to create a unified local church in Ukraine has led to new contradictions and conflicts.
"The places of worship of our Church, which has a thousand-year history, are now being taken over, the flock are being laid into, and state officials are making the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church join the 'new Church' supported by the president of Ukraine. The Security Service of Ukraine is summoning our priests for questionings, and our bishops can only go abroad after preliminary questioning and reinforced examination by special state services," the bishop said.
The video shows attacks on believers and church takeovers in the presence of police officers, which, according to the author of the address, is becoming "a common thing" in Ukraine.
The representative of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said what is now happening is "a fight at the last barrier of the human dimension, the spiritual," which he believes "will undoubtedly have negative consequences" not only for Ukraine, which is being integrated into Europe, but also to the countries of the EU and the whole world.
"The persecution of Christians has never gone without consequences to the rulers who perpetrated them, for we know that God is not to be mocked," the bishop of the canonical Church said, inviting journalists, human rights activists and officials from abroad to come to Ukraine to see what is happening with their own eyes.
Bishop Gedeon (Kharon), another bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, familiarized the U.S. Congress on February 5 with examples of discrimination against the canonical Church by the Ukrainian authorities. He was detained upon returning from America at the Kiev airport on February 13 and deported.