The Verkhovna Rada voted to impose sanctions on Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and other representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church for a period of 10 years.
“The Rada voted to impose sanctions on Patriarch Kirill,” said Ukrainian deputy Oleksiy Goncharenko.
Now this decision of the Parliament must be considered and approved by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.
The list of sanctions also includes the head of the department of external church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Hilarion, Archpriest Nikolai Balashov and Metropolitan Tikhon of Pskov and Porkhov.
The restrictive measures include 19 items, including blocking assets, restricting commercial activities, bans on “using Ukraine’s radio frequency resource”, ending cultural exchanges and scientific cooperation, restricting cash withdrawals from payment cards. , cancellation of official visits, denial of visas, deprivation of government awards and other sanctions.
Russian Orthodox Church leader blacklisted by EU
The head of the EU foreign policy service, Josep Borrell, expressed the opinion that Patriarch Kirill should be blacklisted by the European Union for supporting the military operation in Ukraine.
Answering a question from journalists, Borrell said, “Patriarch, yes, I think it should be there.” The diplomat announced that the work on the list continues.
“The European Commission should be given the opportunity to complete this work,” Borrell said.
The introduction of sanctions against the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church has been discussed in the EU since the end of April. The initiative for this came from Lithuania.
“I think this person is engaged in the extermination of spirits, not in pastoral care,” said Gabrielius Landsbergis, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania. According to him, the country’s authorities are also exploring the possibility of separating the Lithuanian Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban opposed such a decision, denouncing the sanctions against church leaders. A new sanctions package is expected to be agreed in the coming days.
“Patriarch out of politics”
The Russian Orthodox Church commented on possible sanctions against Patriarch Kirill. They noted that the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church is against violence and always expresses his opinion from the position of the church.
“Patriarch Kirill is outside of politics and sanctioning him is illegal and at the same time incomprehensible. “It’s a kind of abnormal understanding of human life in general,” he said.
He pointed out that the Russian Orthodox Church has congregations in many countries of the world, and representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, parishioners and priests are citizens of different countries.
Maria Zakharova, the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also criticized the statement of the head of European diplomacy about plans to blacklist Patriarch Kirill.
Borrel said that Patriarch Kirill should be blacklisted by the European Union. Let him pray that Patriarch Kirill does not include the European Union in the answer.”
He also proposed to make the Leaning Tower of Pisa a symbol of European diplomacy.
“It is attractive in its failure and dysfunctional, but also popular, with its history and income for its owners. Zakharova said that the motto is “Victory in the autumn – victory in the autumn”.
Ukrainian Church versus Russian Orthodox Church
Earlier, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church appealed to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to demand the dethronement of Patriarch Kirill. Epiphanius, head of the OCU, accused the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church of supporting the military operation in Ukraine and spreading “heresy”.
In addition, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church called for “breaking the chains of spiritual slavery” and not submitting to the Moscow Patriarchate.
“We condemn this and appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch. <...> With a request to condemn the moral crimes of Cyril and deprive him of the throne. Because he cannot hold the chalice with the Eucharist and the priest’s stick, whose hands are covered in blood,” said Epiphanius.
He also called the idea of the “Russian world” a “deviant current”. Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine, Epiphanius accused Kirill of sacrificing general church interests to national-political interests.
On May 24, the OCU Bishops’ Council met in Kiev, after which Epiphanius was asked to bring Patriarch Kirill to “canonical responsibility” and deprive him of the patriarchal throne.