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Moscow-backed Orthodox priest under house arrest

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 1, 2023 10:51 PM 1 min read
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On April 1, the Kyiv district court placed Russian-led Orthodox Metropolitan Pavlo (Petro Lebid) under house arrest.

He is charged with inciting hatred and justifying Russia’s war against Ukraine. The arrest will last for the next 60 days.

The court also ordered the metropolitan to wear an electronic bracelet.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said it gathered enough evidence to charge to Moscow-backed religious figure.

Earlier, SBU Head Vasyl Malyuk stated that Russia keeps “trying to use the (Russian-controlled) church to promote its propaganda and divide Ukrainian society.”

According to the SBU, Lebid repeatedly offended the religious feelings of Ukrainians, humiliated the views of believers of other confessions, and supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine, including the occupation of Kherson.

Lebid has held consistent pro-Russian views and called for "unity" with Russia. He has also stated that "Crimea has never been Ukrainian."

The independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine on Jan. 7 held a Christmas service at the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, Ukraine's main Orthodox monastery, for the first time.

Previously the entire Lavra was controlled by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, an affiliate of the Russian Orthodox Church.

"The evil spirit of the Russian world is leaving (the Lavra), and the spirit of true Orthodox Christianity and service to the Ukrainian people is returning," Epiphanius, the metropolitan of Kyiv and head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, said at the Christmas service.

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