Russian occupation authorities ban UGCC activities in the occupied part of Zaporizhzhia region

December 7, 2023, 15:00 840

The Russian occupation authorities issued an “order” to ban the activities of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, as well as the Knights of Columbus and Caritas organizations engaged in social service in the occupied territory of the Zaporizhzhia region. The “order” of the alleged head of the occupation military-civilian administration of Zaporizhzhia region, collaborator Yevhen Balytsky, was published on his official website.

Russian occupation authorities ban UGCC activities in the occupied part of Zaporizhzhia region

Map of the occupied territories of Zaporizhzhia region as of December 6, 2023, deepstatemap.live

The Information Department of the UGCC has just become aware of this, despite the document being dated December 26, 2022.

The occupiers groundlessly justify the ban on the activities of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the occupied territory of Zaporizhzhia region by allegedly storing “explosives and firearms on the territory of religious buildings and auxiliary premises,” as well as by the fact that the activities of the UGCC are carried out “in violation of the legislation on religious and public organizations of the Russian Federation,” namely, due to “the participation of parishioners in mass riots and anti-Russian rallies in March-April 2022”, “distribution of literature inciting violation of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation,” “active participation of UGCC communities in Zaporizhzhia region in the activities of extremist organizations and propaganda of neo-Nazi ideas”, etc.

Furthermore, alongside the prohibition of the UGCC, the Russian occupation authorities have also ordered:

· to transfer movable and immovable property and land plots of the Church to the disposal of the occupation military-civilian administration of the Zaporizhzhia region;

· terminate the lease agreements for premises and land plots previously concluded by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church with local authorities in Zaporizhzhia region;

· cease to register the religious community “Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church” within the occupation authorities of Zaporizhzhia region;

· to prohibit persons who held leadership and administrative positions in the UGCC from registering public and religious organizations in the occupied territory of the Zaporizhzhia region.

Aside from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the “order” of the occupation authorities of the Russian Federation prohibits the activities of other organizations, in particular those engaged in social service and humanitarian support of the population in the occupied and de-occupied territories: “The Knights of Columbus” and the Caritas Charitable Foundation: Caritas Canada, Caritas USA, Caritas Poland, Caritas Czech Republic, Caritas Donetsk and Caritas Melitopol.

The alleged governor, Balytsky, assigned control over implementing this “order” to his deputy for security.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church calls on international organizations to do everything possible to ensure respect for religious freedom in the occupied territory of Ukraine.

It is important to note that on November 16, 2022, in Berdiansk, the occupation authorities arrested two Redemptorist priests, Ivan Levytsky and Bohdan Geleta, who remain in Russian captivity to this day. In December 2022, they “deported” from Melitopol all the UGCC priests who continued to serve there after the Russian occupation of the Zaporizhzhia region in the spring of 2022.

The UGCC Department for Information

See also