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Mayor: Moscow Patriarchate church no longer exists in Lviv

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 6, 2023 7:47 PM 2 min read
Priests of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine conduct the first service in the Ukrainian language at St. George's Cathedral after the exit of the parish from the Moscow Patriarchate in Lviv, Ukraine on April 5, 2023. (Pavlo Palamarchuk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) has ceased its existence in Ukraine's western city of Lviv, Mayor Andrii Sadovyi said on April 6.

According to Sadovyi, local authorities have dismantled one illegal UOC-MP building in the city and handed over two churches of the Moscow Patriarchate to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and a medical association. Meanwhile, the owner of another building leased by the UOC-MP has terminated the rental agreement.

"In a very dignified manner, without provocations, the history of the Moscow Patriarchate in our city was ended over the past two days," Sadovyi said on Telegram, thanking everyone involved.

On April 5, the congregation of the Church of St. George in Lviv, which belonged to the UOC-MP, voted to transition to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. This church was granted autocephaly (ecclesiastical independence from the Russian church) by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople in January 2019 and is not to be confused with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, which subordinates to the Russian church.

Multiple cities in Ukraine have recently revoked the land rights of churches belonging to the Moscow Patriarchate or prohibited them from continuing to hold services.

The most high-profile conflict concerns the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, Ukraine's most important Orthodox monastery, currently occupied by the representatives of the Moscow-linked church. The Culture Ministry had ordered the Moscow Patriarchate clergy to leave the monastery's premises.

Ukraine has long accused the Moscow Patriarchate's representatives in Ukraine of serving as the Kremlin's propaganda arm on the religious front.

Earlier this week, the SBU said it was investigating a priest of the Moscow-controlled church after it became known he was blessing Russian soldiers during the occupation of Kharkiv Oblast.

High-level Ukrainian priest of Moscow-linked church charged for his pro-Russian statements
The head priest of the Moscow-linked Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Cherkasy Oblast was charged with justifying Russian aggression against Ukraine, the State Security Service (SBU) reported on April 6.

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