Skip to comments.Ukrainian Catholics experiencing 'total persecution' in Crimea
Posted on 03/19/2014 3:22:43 PM PDT by NYer
.- As the Russian president signed a bill to annex Crimea Tuesday, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the peninsula has been experiencing what a Church official calls “total persecution.”
“At this moment all Ukrainian Greek Catholic life in Crimea is paralyzed,” Fr. Volodymyr Zhdan, chancellor of the Stryi eparchy in western Ukraine, told CNA March 18.
From 2006 to 2010, Fr. Zhdan served as chancellor of the Odesa-Krym exarchate, which encompassed both the mainland port city of Odesa and the Crimean peninsula.
Since late February the peninsula has seen the emergence of pro-Russian troops, who have taken control of its airports, parliament, and telecommunication centers.
Referring to the kidnapping of three Ukrainian Greek Catholic priests in Crimea by pro-Russian forces over the weekend, Fr. Zhdan stressed that one such case could be called a mistake, but that “multiple kidnappings are not an accident.”
On March 15 Fr. Mykola Kvych, a naval chaplain stationed in Sevastopol, was detained immediately after celebrating a “parastas,” a memorial prayer service for the dead. The following day Fr. Bohdan Kosteskiy of Yevpatoria and Fr. Ihor Gabryliv of Yalta were also reported missing.
Later that night all three were said to be alive and safe, with Fr. Kvych confirming that he had escaped to the mainland of Ukraine with the help of parishioners.
Fr. Kvych told the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s information department that he was held and questioned for eight hours by representatives of the Crimean self-defense force and Russian intelligence officers.
According to Fr. Kvych, they accused him of “provocations” and of supplying the Ukrainian navy with weapons. Fr. Kvych maintained that he helped organize the delivery of food to a blockaded naval base, and that he gave two bulletproof vests to journalists.
Upon seeing a Ukrainian flag at his home and portraits of Roman Shukhevych and Stepan Bandera – Ukrainian nationalists who fought against both the Nazis and the Soviets in the 1940s and 50s -- inside, Fr. Kvych’s captors accused him of being in the “SS Army,” a reference to Nazi Germany.
Followers of Bandera are colloquially called “Banderites,” a label that has been heavily circulated by Russian authorities and media in recent months and whose reported presence in Ukraine, many analysts say, has been used to justify Russian intervention in the country.
Fr. Kvych has been charged with “extremism,” which in the Russian Federation can carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
Fr. Kvych does not know how the trial will be conducted, since the national status of Crimea is in dispute.
A referendum was held in the territory March 16 regarding union with Russia. Crimean authorities claim that 97 percent of voters favor seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia, and March 18 Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Crimean leaders signed a treaty declaring the territory absorbed by Russia.
Western nations and the government in Kyiv have condemned both the referendum and the annexation.
In addition to the arrests in Crimea, several other problems at Ukrainian Greek Catholic Churches throughout the country have been reported in recent days.
According to the Religious Information Service of Ukraine, an important 130-foot electrical cable was stolen from a small chapel in the Kherson region north of Crimea over the weekend. On March 15 a parish in Kolomyya was vandalized and another in Dora was burned to the ground, reportedly from arson. Both damaged parishes are in the Ivano-Frankivsk region, which borders Romania in the west of Ukraine.
In Crimea, clergy have received threatening phone calls and messages. At the home of one apprehended priest, a note was left that read this should be “a lesson to all Vatican agents.”
“This is not new,” Bishop Vasyl Ivasyuk, who served as Exarch of Odesa-Krym from 2003 to 2014, told CNA.
“During Soviet times, we were always accused of being ‘agents’ of the Vatican,” Bishop Ivasyuk continued. “Of course not all people in Crimea think we are spies, but there is a very active pro-Russian group there that does.”
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was heavily persecuted during the Soviet era; it was considered illegal, and operated completely underground until 1989.
“The Church emerged from the underground 25 years ago, having been the largest illegal church in the world for 45 years prior,” Bishop Boris Gudziak, Eparch of Paris, explained to CNA last month.
“The UGCC was the biggest social body of opposition to the Soviet ideology and totalitarian system. It was completely illegal, but in the catacombs, it was spiritually free because it was not collaborating.”
Bishop Ivasyuk confirmed that such freedom is important in Crimea, where the relationship between the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the local government has always been complicated.
“Many Crimeans respect the UGCC for not taking part in elections, for staying out of politics,” he said. “Our priests do not run for political office and this has granted them a kind of moral authority.”
Of the five priests normally serving Ukrainian Greek Catholics in the peninsula, two reportedly remain.
When asked their motivation for staying, Bishop Ivasyuk explained that they want to be with the people as long as possible.
“Life is the most important thing, so we shouldn’t go looking for the mouth of the lion … but we’ll stay with the people wherever they are.”
On March 18 the Department of Religious and Ethnic Affairs in Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture issued a statement condemning the persecution of clergy in Crimea.
“Recently, in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea cases of persecution of the clerics of various denominations have been documented. There has been an unprecedented violation of rights in the field of freedom of conscience and religion,” the statement read.
“We demand there be a stop to the practice of terror and for rights and liberties to be respected.”
With the signing of the Russia-Crimea treaty, it is unclear what will happen to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the region. It is estimated there are roughly 5,000 Ukrainian Greek Catholics on the peninsula.
“What we saw this weekend was a disturbing signal of a future political direction,” Fr. Zhdan concluded.
There are still a few Stalin era prison camps in Siberia that are in need of new occupants. I’m sure that Putin will generously give the Ukrainian Catholics an all expense paid permanent vacation there, just as Stalin did to the Crimean Tartars.
I thought all of the Ukrainian Catholics were here in Pennsylvania!
Yet there are freepers who are openly siding with Putin and believe he’s a “good Christian”. Disgusting.
Maybe this will weaken some of the adulation Putin was getting from Catholics here at FR.
For instance this quote, (which isn’t yours) from a different thread.
“Putin is the best bet on the world stage right now for the traditional family values crowd.”
Or this one, which was in praise of him.
“Reportedly, Russia (Putin) is restoring the former glory of the long gone Orthodox Catholic Church to the exclusion of all protestant efforts to establish there.”
The idea of supporting Putin has surprised me as I thought it is obvious just what and who he is. But you’re right, he has a lot of vocal support here.
Putin is no Christian. He is a KGB thug in the worst way; like many of his predecessors, he has used the Russian Orthodox Church to help him consolidate power, and in exchange, that Church can rely on him to suppress rival religious groups. This includes Catholics, Baptists, Mormons and others.
I hope so, but sadly there isn't a lot of traffic on this thread and the fact Catholics are being persecuted by the Russians in Ukraine (and have been for decades, going back to the Soviet era) gets zero media coverage.
I think much of the adoration has to do with the fact that Putin opposes the gay agenda, so they praise him for his "Christian" values, and ignore the fact he's a slimy KGB thug who uses his clout to bully and oppress other Christians.
From what I've seen, most of the PR coming out of Putin's camp about him being a "good Orthodox Christian" is for propaganda purposes, like Obama claiming to be a faithful Christian in 2008 because he attended his wife's kill whitey church. Putin was baptized as a baby and is a nominal Christian, but I doubt he goes to church much. He opposes the gay agenda because he realizes it destroys western civilization, not because of any "Christian values" he holds.
“Yet there are freepers who are openly siding with Putin and believe hes a good Christian. Disgusting.”
Yet there are freepers who are openly siding with Obuma, Kerry, Soros and Hillary and believe in pushing the US State Department homo agenda. Disgusting.
I can hurl stupid insults as well as the next person.
How about you people stop the crap and realize that Ukraine is a diversion to take the heat off Obuma and his rapidly crumbling domestic policy.
Ukraine has effectively divided conservatives and taken them away from their main task, which is taking down Obuma and his snake nest of fascist/commie bureaucrats.
Come on, people. You’re being played by Obuma and his Alinsky tactics.
Patton was more right than maybe he even knew. We should have finished the job long ago.
In the News/Activism forum, on a thread titled Ukrainian Catholics experiencing ‘total persecution’ in Crimea, BillyBoy wrote:
Yet there are freepers who are openly siding with Putin and believe hes a good Christian. Disgusting.
In one of my posts after checking to see if there was a page for it and seeing one for Russia. I suggested one should be set up for the USSR. There’s about a dozen who have been posting Kremlin talking points and revisionist history all supporting Putin every time postings on Ukrarinia comes up. Some came in 2005 some earlier. Most don’t identify with a given state.
Sounds like a replay of 1843.
We can post the proof of the Putin and Russia adulation, and they seem to be that he is returning Christ to civilization, and that he is going to restore the Russian Orthodox and Catholic denominations into being in power and ending religious freedom for the people who fall under his control.
Here is just a taste of what we have seen sprinkled heavily throughout FR.
Putin is the best bet on the world stage right now for the traditional family values crowd.
Or this one, which was in praise of him.
Reportedly, Russia (Putin) is restoring the former glory of the long gone Orthodox Catholic Church to the exclusion of all protestant efforts to establish there.
Yup! Here we go again:
Prayers of protection for the priests.
It happens in communist counties
Precisely. I never thought I would see the day
How about you come to understand what communism really is
Catholics being kidnapped, imprisoned, and murdered in the Ukraine is a "diversion" in the same way that Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans being tortured and killed in Benghazi was a "phony scandal"
“We can post the proof of the Putin and Russia adulation, and they seem to be that he is returning Christ to civilization, and that he is going to restore the Russian Orthodox and Catholic denominations into being in power and ending religious freedom for the people who fall under his control.”
Well, goodie for you. What does that mean for the overall goal of removing Obuma and his fascist bureaucracy in the US? Not a thing.
I don’t mind you fighting Russians in Ukraine. Be my guest. I’m concentrating my efforts against the Kenyan usurper and what he’s doing to the US. There’s a small number of people here on FR who are agitating for deploying US troops in Ukraine. Not only will the Russians attack them from the front, the Kenyan usurper will be stabbing them in the back with ridiculous ROEs.
That’s the perfect Alinsky maneuver to destroy our military. I’m not drinking any of that kool-aid.
Eastern Orthodox, AKA the “Mother Church of Russia” and the official Church of the USSR.
So your argument for Russian expansion and the KGB man reestablishing as much of the Soviet Empire and power that he can, is that it steals away from freepers posting that we don’t like Obama over and over?
Gee, too bad you didn’t have the internet during the Carter years, you could have berated us then as well.
“How about you come to understand what communism really is”
How about you understand that commies are right here in the US, in your schools, in your neighborhoods and in your town council. President Obuma is shoving communism down your throat everyday.
I’d prefer that you join our fight to defeat the Kenyan usurper right here in the US rather than worry about Ukraine.
We've all seen some stupid posting, but yours are a whole new ballgame, as you fight for the KGB and Mother Russia and a future empire for them.
“So your argument for Russian expansion and the KGB man reestablishing as much of the Soviet Empire and power that he can, is that it steals away from freepers posting that we dont like Obama over and over?”
Don’t put words in my mouth. I said that if you want to be a knight in shining armor to fight Putin, be my guest.
Yet here you are, on this thread telling us to lay off Putin and let him carry on.
Our foreign policy interests have not ended, history is not over yet.
“We’ve all seen some stupid posting, but yours are a whole new ballgame, as you fight for the KGB and Mother Russia and a future empire for them.”
Really? Besides your psychotic delusions, can you you point to anything I’ve said that I support the KGB and Mother Russia?
Your post is typical of delusional leftists who project onto others of what they are.
You’re a troll.
In the News/Activism forum, on a thread titled Ukrainian Catholics experiencing ‘total persecution’ in Crimea, BillyBoy wrote:
>> Ukraine is a diversion <<
Catholics being kidnapped, imprisoned, and murdered in the Ukraine
Yea I saw that. There was a reporter interviewed by John Batchelor on his show from of all places The (UK)Telegraph reporting from Kiev. He was claiming that the Catholics are causing all the trouble. If I knew anybody in their government I’d let them know and kick his ass out let him report from the Kremlin .Then you’d know where he’s comming from.
Did you work this election ? Rutherford fell apart. I didn’t like Dillard because of his IEA and ex gov wuss support. All that means is more taxes and no school reform. Folks went with the money men. Alas the red head is still with us.
Ain't that the truth. It's like everyone has forgotten history over the past century.
Concentrate on Obama. LOL! Unfortunately watching the Ukraine *is* concentrating on that idiot.
True. Good point.
Yeah, I was an election judge and voted for Brady. Several Dems showed up and pulled a GOP ballot to vote for Dillard. The election was extremely quiet -- maybe 2 voters every 10-15 minutes, and the only campaign signs near the polling place were the ones I put out (for Brady, Truax, and Grogan). None of the usual annoying poll watchers this time, either. Considering the horrible weather we've had lately and Rauner's money machine, I did almost zero door-to-door electioneering this primary. Surprisingly, the results in my pct. were great (Truax 58%, Grogan 56%). Unfortunately for the rest of Illinois, they were terrible. I'm dreading having to vote in the November election with our pathetic slate of candidates. Interestingly enough, Rauner's fans are upset that Rauner's running mate Evelyn Sanguinetti gave some badly received victory speech and sounded like a "hispanic Sarah Palin". Oh well, I've been saying for weeks that Rauner's running mate was a poor 11th hour choice that nobody ever heard of and who never campaigned in public. You broke it, you bought it!
You are a big time liar.
Anyone who is reading you this thread as you aggressively claim to be uninterested in promoting Russia's expansion, and just want to talk about Obama, should take a look at your recent posting history, you are rabid on this.
Your rabid rantings and ravings are in your posting history, supporting Russia and Putin since his big push.
Well, you have come out of the closet..... an obama man
LOL, me and JR have come out of the closet as Obama men because we oppose Russia and the KGB getting the empire back together?
Sounds pretty deep man.
“Upon seeing portraits of Roman Shukhevych [...] Fr. Kvychs captors accused him of being in the SS Army, a reference to Nazi Germany.”
It is very interesting that a Catholic Priest would have a poster of this man on their wall.
In 1934, he was arrested for trying to assassinate the Polish cultural minister.
Bandera led the more extreme totalitarian faction of OUN(OUN-B) that was primarily responsible for the massacre of 70,000 Poles in Volhynia & Galicia during WWII.
(Historical background: In 1937, the Polish government in Volhynia pushed Polonization and tried to forcibly convert the Orthodox population to Roman Catholicism. Over 190 Orthodox churches were destroyed and 150 converted to Roman Catholic cathedrals.)
Here is a sample order from the Bandera’s faction regional leader:
“We should make a large action of the liquidation of the Polish element. As the German armies withdraw, we should take advantage of this convenient moment for liquidating the entire male population in the age from 16 up to 60 years. We cannot lose this fight, and it is necessary at all costs to weaken Polish forces. Villages and settlements lying next to the massive forests, should disappear from the face of the earth”.
Here’s a sample letter from a commandant reporting directly to OUN-B: “On September 29, 1943, I carried out the action in the villages of Wola Ostrowiecka, and Ostrivky. I have liquidated all Poles, starting from the youngest ones. Afterwards, all buildings were burned and all goods were confiscated”.
Bandera wasn’t in charge during the massacres, but he was in charge when they made policy decisions like this:
“Moskali, Poles, Jews are hostile to us must be exterminated in this struggle, especially those who would resist our regime: deport them to their own lands, importantly: destroy their intelligentsia that may be in the positions of power ... Jews must be isolated, removed from governmental positions in order to prevent sabotage, those who are deemed necessary may only work with an overseer... Jewish assimilation is not possible.”
Leaflets from his faction while he was in charge in 1941 called for the “destruction” of “Moscow”, Poles, Hungarians and Jewry.
The OUN-B (Bandera’s faction) was directly condemned by the leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church for its violence.
I don’t think there are many people around who want to see Russians invading any country. The issue is, what can we do about it? Militarily, my guess is we can’t do anything. It is a precarious situation for sure, but I do not think there is a military option. With the Communist Obungler in office, not much will be done.
This is the Carter years again, and some support it, it makes most of us conservatives sick because we know what is being built, what is being overcome and defeated.
Concerning western Catholicism, I noticed on reading Wikipedia that Russia itself has four dioceses for Catholics of the Latin Rite, including 1 archdiocese.
name dropper too
It shows him to be a good Catholic and a patriot of his country.
Just pointing out the facts, you made such a silly and childish statement.
You can visit JR’s threads and tell him that by not supporting Russian aggression his is outing himself as an Obama man.
The RF under Putin has mentally gone back to the Soviet days. The period of relative liberalization of 1991-2013 is over. The Soviet mentality is that any one Catholic is a foreign agent, simply because he is Catholic.
For the record I am already working to make sure that O is impeached (at a minimum) and that the spineless congress is replaced.
You made the comment that it was either Putin or Hillary,Kerry,Obama (etc etc)
That logic is ill conceived on a really good day.When you trap yourself in an either or when that is rarely the case you have fallen for the classic Alinsky tactic. (Which you claim to understand).
The fact that you seem to think that we live in a communist dictatorship (which we are get closer and closer to) and you ignore the plight ACTUALLY suffering at the hands of communists suggests a lack of breadth in your thoughts.
It is not either or. I can easily be against BOTH Putin and Obama
LOL, all they have to do is look at your posting history for Russia’s expansion.
Your real intentions are starting to come out on this thread though also, you couldn’t maintain your lying for long.
You are rabid on this topic, I don’t think you spend much time on some of the Ukraine threads though, the ones that JR posts.
“It is not either or. I can easily be against BOTH Putin and Obama”
Well stated, Nifster.
Always good to know we can agree more than disagree. Back in my misspent salad days, I read a book by a fellow named Golitsyn called The Perestroika Deception. At the time, I thought yeah well maybe so but even the communists aren’t so nuts as to try this plan. Boy was I wrong.
If you haven’t read it you should try and track it down. This one will give you nightmares. I am going to have to dig out my copy and read it again now in light of all that has and is happening