“There is Not a Single Catholic Priest in the Temporarily Occupied Territories,” Says Head of the UGCC

July 4, 2024, 09:35 288

In the territories temporarily occupied by Russia, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has been de facto liquidated, there is not a single Greek or Roman Catholic priest there, and the clergy are being repressed.

“There is Not a Single Catholic Priest in the Temporarily Occupied Territories,” Says Head of the UGCC

His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Father and Head of the UGCC, stated this in an interview with Ukrinform.

“Our Church has been liquidated in the occupied territories. Specifically, by so-called state regulations. For example, this happened in the occupied part of Zaporizhzhia region. Institutions of social service of our Church, such as Caritas Ukraine or such a community of Catholic men as the Knights of Columbus, are also prohibited there. In the occupied territories today, there is virtually no Catholic priest—either Greek Catholic or Roman Catholic,” said the Head of the UGCC.

However, according to him, the UGCC exists in the occupied territories despite the injunction, “because there are our faithful, our people there.” “But they are deprived of spiritual care. At the same time, in those territories where Russia is coming, Stalinist times are recurring, the clergy are being repressed,” added His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

He also said that some members of the UGCC clergy were deported, some were rescued, and two priests from Berdiansk, Fr. Ivan Levytsky and Fr. Bohdan Geleta, were held in Russian custody for more than a year and a half. They were released on June 28.

The Head of the UGCC also described the fate of churches in the occupied territories.

“In some cities, our churches are completely destroyed. These are Mariupol, Maryinka, Volnovakha, Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk. Our churches in Melitopol and Berdiansk are closed. Recently we received information that our cathedral in Donetsk was seized. When our priests were expelled from there, the faithful kept coming there. The church was open, people gathered and prayed. The ‘authorities’ did not approve of this. And one day our people came and saw that the locks had been changed, meaning that people were simply thrown out of their church. The same thing happened in Luhansk. We also recently received such news about the village of Oleksandrivka, Skadovsk district, where the Russian Church seized our church and allegedly performed a rite of ‘consecration’ before Easter,” said the Head of the UGCC.

The UGCC Department for Information

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