Zelensky’s Soviet-style persecution of Ukrainian Orthodox Church

By Hanne Nabintu Herland

Read Hanne’s The Herland Report.

The forced politicization of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine may easily backfire. As the Ukrainian government is now engaged in a militant, atheistic, Soviet Union-type of manhunt and persecution against traditional Orthodox Christians, despite their pledged loyalty to Ukraine, this may be a mistake that will impact the Russia-Ukraine war in unexpected ways. What happens domestically when you begin attacking your own history? “The Ukrainian authorities are sadly ignorant of the spiritual laws that govern the universe. Instead, they spit upon the Church and the saints,” says Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye. Almost half of the Ukrainian population adhere to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

As this church now is demonized in the West as “Russian,” a quick history lesson may be needed. Kyiv was the very spiritual seat of the early Christian settlements in Kyivan-Rus. The name “Russia” stems from “Rus,” a term that the Vikings used to call the great lands surrounding Kyiv over a thousand years ago. The links between Viking kings, Kyiv and Novgorod was strong, as the early sources explain well. The Vikings were Orthodox Christians with strong links to Kyiv.

When Christianity first came to this region, it took hold in Kyivan-Rus, where large monasteries were built. The ruler of Kyiv, Princess Olga of Kyiv (820-969), who was later known as St. Olga, is together with her grandson Vladimir regarded as the early founders of Christianity in Eastern Orthodoxy. As is well-known, Orthodoxy is the original form of Christianity, pre-denominational, un-dividedly following the early teachings of Jesus Christ in an unbroken chain since the days of the apostles. It is the church of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Greece, Ukraine, Russia and others, with a large following in the United States.

The world-famous Monastery of the Caves, the Holy Dormition Kiev Caves Lavra, dates back to the 11th century. It is the holiest site in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and now at the center of attention, as the current government has decided to expel the church from this site, pledging to take its hundreds of years old holy relics and turning these over to museums. The thousand-year-old monastery is to be a place for arts, crafts and military rehab.

The Lavra became state-owned during the communist period and was greatly neglected. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the state maintained control over it, but the Orthodox have completely restored it to its former glory. Its upper parts and main churches has been leased to the Church since 1988, reports Orthodox Christianity. But now, those leases are expiring, and according to Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl, they will not be renewed. New Years Eve Mass 2022 was held here for the last time, as president Zelensky shut down the right for believers, priests and monks to enter. The moving service may be seen in this video. The sight of thousands protesting to the governmental decree to close down the Kyiv Caves Lavra and evict the monks has since been shocking to see.

When the Western-affiliated government follows atheistic Soviet tactics of harassment and persecution of the Ukrainian Church, they ignore the very greatness of their own history that made Ukraine such a center for spirituality in the East. Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil says: “We are deeply shocked by another attack against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. It seems that those who commit such lawlessness are faithful followers of the line of the God-fighters of the communist period. The methods have become more sophisticated, but the goal is obviously the same: to eradicate the Church and trample its memory.

It has long been a tactic of tradition-hating Marxists to present lies, slander and maliciously wrong presentations about those who disagree with their Marxist views, so to destroy the reputation of the religious communities. Just read Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. Atheist Westerners now fail to comprehend how faith in the East has transcended geopolitical struggles in the past. Those in the West choose to support divisive measures in the attempt to quench the unpolitical Orthodox spirit of unity.

In a series of articles at WND, I have discussed the ruthless atheism of Karl Marx and his followers, devoid of respect for diversity, with the aim of the total annihilation of traditional values in order to implement atheistic communism. Ukraine itself may easily suffer from this choice when Western geopolitical interests are finished on its soil and the United States moves on, just like it did with the Middle East. Who will remain? The Ukrainians will – they have nowhere else to go, with half of their population strongly linked to Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

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