On 1 December 2022, Zelenskyy signed a decree that imposes personal, including financial, sanctions against the clergymen of the Moscow-linked Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
The decree also orders to conduct an assessment of the legal foundations of leasing several country’s famous churches, including Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra to the Moscow-linked church.
The Moscow-linked church gradually lost popularity in Ukraine while most Ukrainians are visiting the independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine. However, the Moscow-led church retained control over several important historical churches. During searches conducted by Ukraine’s Security Service in the premises of the Moscow-linked church, propaganda materials denying Ukrainian statehood were found along with other evidence.
Currently, Ukrainian MPs are considering the bill banning the Moscow-linked church in Ukraine and terminating lease agreements with its structures.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) has announced officially suspected the Metropolitan of the Kirovohrad Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP), accusing him of justifying the seizure of Crimea by Russia in 2014. The bishop was part of the inner circle of Moscow Patriarch Kirill, with whom he coordinated the spread of pro-Kremlin views in Ukraine. He is likely to be only the first among other suspects following SBU raids and the collection of evidence.
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