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The Religious Civil War Happening In Ukraine Right Now
A Boots on the ground report
What follows is a series of updates I received from a friend who lives in Ukraine and is witnessing these events unfold firsthand.
Traditional Orthodox churches across Ukraine are being raided. The clergy and membership are expelled to make way for the “Real” Ukrainian church, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
It’s not technically legal yet. But, there is a real effort to change that.
The Rada announced a bill on the transfer of the temples of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine
People's Deputy Taras Batenko on the air of the telethon announced "new legislative initiatives to cleanse the Ukrainian churches from the remnants of the" Russian world ".
He believes that the current legislation is not enough.
"The process of transferring temples from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine or to some other confession cannot be stopped. But it is necessary to legalize this, since current legislation is not enough," telegram channel of the Rada quotes Batenko.
As in all vicious acts, it’s best to demonize your enemy first.
In this case it started with calling traditional Ukrainian orthodox churches the "Russian church". And, as everyone knows by now, anything Russian must be expelled.
The History of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Under the Soviet Union, between 1917-1929 all church property was nationalized, and up until now churches are considered "cultural heritage" and belong to the state.
The state has been leasing, so to say, the buildings to the church. The church (people that is, because this is all done using donations) incur the ongoing restoration, operations, and maintenance costs since the 1990s.
Before 1990 there was no division, there was just one Russian orthodox church in all these territories, still Soviet Union.
In the autumn of 1990 the Ukrainian orthodox church was formed as a self-governing structure within the Russian orthodox church. The clergy and people stayed the same, it just became self-governing. This church is recognized by all other orthodox churches in the world.
There haven't been Russian orthodox churches in the territory of the modern day Ukraine since 1990.
In 1992 they organized a parallel structure and called it Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarch. From what I know, it was never recognized by any other orthodox church. In 2019, on the bases of that church they formed Orthodox Church of Ukraine, having involved the bishop of Constantinople. From what I understand it was recognized by churches of Greece, Cyprus and Alexandria, the rest do not recognize it as a church.
In orthodoxy, one cannot just form a church because they decided to. Continuity and succession must be followed. Apostles ordained bishops, bishops ordained the next "generation" of bishops and so on. The order must be followed.
There have been videos circulating of men that are in the military now, that go to the traditional church, wondering what are they fighting for on the front if their church is being destroyed. Also videos of mothers who lost their sons or whose sons are in the military right now, and the mothers are being kicked out of their churches.
Ukraine is good at propaganda. This video uses children and young people to encourage the youth to take part in the liberation of these churches.
This is how a church “transfer” is done in villages:
This is a monastery complex in Kiev, close to a thousand years old. They haven't been able to evict the clergy & members using the crowd for the past three weeks. So, for the past few days they've been using police and special forces to fence off people while a commission inspects and seals buildings one by one. They have no supporting documents to do that.
A lawyer woman in her mid 30s, who's been helping deal with the crowd for the past three weeks there, was grabbed by the police three days ago and taken away unconscious during a live stream.
Earlier that day when the state commission showed up and wanted to seal off one of the buildings, the people inside refused to leave, so the commission sealed it off with the people inside.
This same young lawyer, on the basis that the commission had no right to do that and had no supporting documents, broke the seal and went inside. Now, she and three other people have been arrested and charged with "disorderly conduct", 2 to 5 years, house arrest for now.
A seminary student who was filming was detained yesterday. (Seminary is located in the same monastery complex.) Was taken to a police department, but they eventually let him go.
Also one of the churches in was demolished on the grounds that "it had been built illegally"