Archimandrite Nikita later posted a video message on social networks, in which he claims that, in fact, SBU agents undressed and photographed everyone who was in the consistory at the time of the search, Ukrainian publication Focus reports.
“Those of us in the diocese were awakened from our sleep, taken from our cells, put against the wall, stripped and apparently photographed. And then, of course, all kinds of obscene details were added…” commented Nikita, who also stated that the priests were threatened with being shot.
Nikita mentioned that he is not afraid of “shootings and death”.
The SBU conducts counterespionage activities within the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and Archimandrite Nikita, who was to be ordained diocesan bishop of Ivano-Frankivsk, was targeted. The search from the Diocese of Chernivtsi and Bucovina lasted 12 hours.
The priests, accused of holding masses in which they deny Moscow’s aggression
As a result of the investigative actions, “law enforcement officers discovered documents that confirm the presence of Russian citizenship in the management of diocesan structures.” Correspondence of diocesan leaders with Moscow was also exposed, in which they receive “methodology” to “hold church services favorable to the large-scale invasion of Ukraine.”
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According to the investigation of the Security in Kyiv, representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church were tasked with disinformation about the socio-political situation in Ukraine and the situation at the front. In particular, “priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church were asked to deny the armed aggression of Russia, to speak about the alleged oppression of the Moscow Church.”
During the search, the SBU found “wholesale batches of pro-Kremlin literature praising Russia and calling for support for the occupiers.”
In addition, during the examination of the computers of the diocese leadership, photocopies of the identity cards of some Russian citizens who took part in the hostilities against the Ukrainian troops were found.
“The Lord is the judge of all, if they have evidence, let them prove,” said Archimandrite Nikita.
After the Russian Orthodox Church expressed its support for the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine, 6,000 Ukrainian parishes decided to separate from Moscow, but some remained dependent on Russia.
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