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Sources: SBU carries out searches at high-ranking priest of Moscow-linked church

by Martin Fornusek April 12, 2024 12:13 PM 2 min read
Mykola Danylevych, an archpriest of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP). (Mykola Danylevych/Facebook)
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The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) carried out searches at the premises of Archpriest Mykola Danylevych, a senior member of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), on the morning of April 12, sources in law enforcement agencies told the Kyiv Independent.

The Moscow Patriarchate-linked church has been repeatedly accused of aligning with the Russian government during the war, which the church's leadership denied.

Danylevych is the deputy head of the UOC-MP's synodal department for external relations.

The sources did not clarify what Danylevych is suspected of but said that the archpriest had displayed support for the "Russian world" ideology and justified Russian aggression.

The sources noted that in 2017, Danylevych took part in a delegation of pro-Russian oligarch Vadym Novynskyi that sought to convince Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew not to grant the tomos of autocephaly (signifying a decree of canonical autonomy) to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU).

Bartholomew, the archbishop of Constantinople and the highest-ranking cleric of the Eastern Orthodox Church, granted the tomos to the OCU in 2019.

The UOC-MP has yet to comment on the reported searches.

In March, the SBU said it neutralized a pro-Russian disinformation group in Kyiv, whose members included a UOC-MP priest, that reportedly spread pro-Kremlin propaganda through the church's websites.

Opinion: What should Ukraine do about its Russia-linked church?
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), presented a “revolutionary” order on March 27: “The Present and Future of the Russian World.” The order claims: “From a spiritual and moral point of view, a special military operation (Russia’s term for its war against Ukrai…
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