MOSCOW, SANA- Kiev’s persecution of the canonical Orthodox Church could result in the biggest intra-confessional conflict in Europe’s modern history, Gennady Askaldovich, the special representative of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry on cooperation in the field of observance of the right to freedom of religion, has told Sputnik.
In January, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia told a UN Security Council meeting that Russia had information about a number of initiatives in Ukraine aimed at the complete liquidation of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Anthony (Sevryuk) of Volokolamsk, told the meeting that criminal cases against bishops and priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have been launched for far-fetched reasons.
Askaldovich added that the West has launched a major attack on everything that is Russian, including representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church.
“Since the beginning of the special military operation, we have witnessed a frontal attack on everything that is Russian abroad,” Askaldovich said.
“This negative process did not bypass the Russian Orthodox Church either. Its representatives in a number of unfriendly countries, as well as clergymen of autocephalous churches, have been subjected to severe moral and psychological pressure.”
He noted that Orthodox priests are forced to unequivocally condemn Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine and the policy of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to sever relations with the Russian Orthodox Church, and to support Ukraine’s schismatic church.