Zelensky Has Orthodox Church Leader Put Under House Arrest

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Othodox priest Ukraine

A Kyiv court has sentenced a leading priest to house arrest according to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC).

The Church also said the court had ordered the top Orthodox priest, Metropolitan Pavel, is to wear an electronic bracelet.

Ukraine’s top security agency notified Pavel on Saturday that he was suspected of justifying Russia’s aggression, a criminal offense.

The move comes amid a bitter dispute over a famed Orthodox monastery.

Pavel who is the abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery, Ukraine’s most revered Orthodox site, had been resisting the authorities’ order to vacate the complex.

Al Jazeera reports: The Interfax Ukraine and Ukrinform news agencies said Pavel had been given 60 days of house arrest.

“I haven’t done anything. I believe this is a political order,” the religious leader told reporters after the ruling.

The decision came as Kyiv cracks down on the UOC on the grounds it is pro-Russian and is collaborating with Moscow, a charge the church denies. Earlier in the week, Pavel –  who is the abbot of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery, Ukraine’s most revered Orthodox site – had cursed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, threatening him with damnation.

Prosecutors said the house arrest and electronic bracelet were precautionary measures, with prosecutor Yevhen Zavistovskyi saying that the case against Pavel would continue.

Russia’s TASS state news agency said the court ordered Pavel to live in a village some 40km (25 miles) southeast of Kyiv.

Pavel said the house was not fit for inhabitation.

“There is nothing to sleep on, no heat and no light. There is no kitchen, no spoon. But it’s OK, I’ll endure it all,” he said.

Niamh Harris
About Niamh Harris 15020 Articles
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