Christian Persecution


Other Christian
This is a new video, released by Trisagion Films. It's about the life of St. Gabriel, Fool for Christ. I'm half-way through it and wanted to encourage you all to watch it. He was a modern saint, persecuted by the Communists. It's about an hour long. Hard to watch the destruction of the churches, etc, which makes me wonder if this is where we are heading. He was an amazing, holy man. YT is doing its best to discourage us from watching it. Hope it doesn't get taken down.

Yesterday evening, on Orthodox Sentinel Radio, I listened to the life of St. Gabriel, Fool for Christ. The story was read by Father Josiah Trenham. It was a beautiful story, and inspiring.

Edit: to add this from 2017

Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow - West is making a mistake​

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Saint Gabriel of Georgia is very dear to me. Thankyou @IconWriter for pointing me to this video.
I have visited Georgia three times, the first in 2011, before Saint Gabriel was canonised, and even then photographs of him were seen everywhere, and icons of him, then without a halo, venerated.


Other Christian

Vladimir Legoyda: Zelensky's US Handlers Likely Behind Decision to Seize Kiev-Pechersk Lavra​

But something changed last November, when this suppression and the pressure from the state became really very strong. And Kiev-Pechersk Lavra is sort of the final point because there were a lot of other monasteries and churches and priests who were arrested and so on. So it is now for Zelensky some kind of a very important thing that he is trying to do something about it. And I'm pretty sure that it has to do with his American consultants."

The Western mainstream media and politicians are staying silent on the issue of Orthodox monks and priests being persecuted by the Kiev regime. However, the Zelensky government’s actions towards the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are a terrible violation of basic human rights and of religious rights.

"If you claim to be democratic, you cannot support such actions," said Legoyda. "You cannot do what you are doing now in Ukraine. There were facts and situations when priests, Ukrainian Orthodox priests, were arrested for having a postcard from Russia, like a Christmas card, that it was some kind of Russian propaganda. It sounds, you know, absurd. It sounds funny, but it's not funny at all because people are suffering for this. And it is all those terrible facts and hundreds of those facts; we try to attract the attention of international political organizations to all those terrible facts, to this violation of human rights. No reaction whatsoever."

Legoyda has drawn parallels between the state-wide persecution of the Orthodox Christian church in Ukraine and the purges that Orthodox Christians were subjected to in the Roman Empire and during the first decades of Bolshevik rule. According to him, it's not just a metaphor, but a terrible fact the world is facing in the 21st century. "I could never think that we would face something like that," he admitted.

Legoyda said that he had a few words for Christians in the West whose governments remain silent amid the Kiev regime's ruthless crackdown on Orthodox monks and priests in Ukraine:

"Dear brothers and sisters, if you look at the situation with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church today, you'll see that it is a terrible and gross violation of human rights. And I'm asking you to pray for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, and I am asking you to raise your voice against this lawlessness that is happening in Ukraine now."

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Other Christian

If this is a Russian nest of spies, as Ukraine's government is suggesting, there could not be a more magnificent and grandiose place for alleged agents to hide.

Within the walls of this extraordinary 1,000-year-old complex, which includes a monastery, crypts, chapels and a labyrinth of subterranean caves, a brutal political game is playing out.

The Pechersk Lavra in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv — often referred to simply as the Lavra — is at the centre of a bitter political dispute running parallel to the nation's war with Russia.

The fight over the Lavra reflects deepening tensions across Ukraine.

Ukraine's church was under the jurisdiction of the Moscow patriarchate for three centuries.

But a schism developed within the Ukrainian church between those loyal to Russia and those who wanted to be independent.

In 2019, they were allowed to split, and the names the churches gave themselves were subtly different — but their allegiances are not.

The Ukrainians refer to their church as the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (UOC), whereas the Russian part calls itself the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP).

These factions of the broader Orthodox church co-existed, sometimes uneasily, on this compound.

But due to the tensions unleashed by the war between Russia and Ukraine, often-subterranean tensions at one of Europe's oldest and most famous churches have broken into the open.

Ukraine fears 'Russian saboteurs dressed as priests'​

For years, one of the Russian-linked leaders at the Lavra, the Metropolitan Pavel, has held a prominent position, even though Ukrainian intelligence, in recent times at least, has made allegations against him.

The country's intelligence agency, the SBU, insists some members of UOC-MP, including Metropolitan Pavel, have maintained close ties with Moscow.

Authorities claim he has glorified Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

They have now placed the Metropolitan Pavel under house arrest, attaching an electronic tag to his leg.

A man with a big bushy beard wearing a black hat with a cross on the front

A court in Kyiv put Metropolitan Pavel, a leader of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastery, under house arrest for 60 days. (Reuters: Viacheslav Ratynskyi)
"I haven't done anything. I believe this is a political order," the religious leader told reporters after the ruling.

He also complained that the living conditions at his home were not fit for him to be under house arrest for 60 days.

"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.

He has also been banned from recording addresses to his followers.

His arrest follows a raid on the Lavra last year by SBU agents who said they were investigating reports the site was used "to hide sabotage and intelligence groups, foreign citizens, [and store] weapons".

And last week, Kyiv exchanged a priest accused of collaborating with Russia for 28 Ukrainian soldiers.

The prisoner swap is a public indication of the value that Russia places on these priests in Ukraine.

"A lot of priests became collaborators," said Andrii Kovalov, a leading academic on the Lavra who joined the Ukrainian army last year.

"They have actively supported the Russian army by informing Russian artillery and aviation.

"That's why the [Ukrainian] government has started to act against Russian saboteurs dressed as priests."
While many of these tensions have been below the surface, they are now being spoken about openly.

"Russia is our bad daughter," Mr Kovalov said.

"And now our bad daughter is trying to fight its mother."

How Russia uses religion as 'soft power'​

Mr Kovalov did his PhD on the relationship between religion and security in Ukraine and has been working as a political and religious analyst since 2010.

A man in army fatigues stands in front of an opulent gold altar

Andrii Kovalov says there have been elements within the Lavra who have been sympathetic to Russia's cause. (ABC News: John Lyons)
He argued that Russia had been using religion as "a soft power" to influence and infiltrate Ukraine.

That was why Ukraine came to the point, he said, of realising that it needed to have an independent church – and hence the recent crackdown against alleged Russian influences.

The war, he said, had been a catalyst for these tensions coming to the surface.

"Before, the Russian church was masked under the cover of the Ukrainian church," he said.

"But the war made the differences very clear and explained to the average Ukrainian who was not interested in politics that the [UOC] is the only legal church which cares about the Ukrainian people and prays for the Ukraine nation and soldiers."

It was obvious, he argued, that there had been people at a senior level of the Lavra who had been supporting Russia and its invasion of Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin leans over to talk and put an arm around Patriarch Kirill, who is wearing an ornate watch on one wrist
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He said that in a time of war, it was unsustainable for there to be people at the head of a venerable religious institution supporting the invasion of the country in which they were being hosted.

He stressed that not all Russian priests at the Lavra were Kremlin sympathisers, but in such a sensitive time of war, one supporter or "collaborator" was too many.

He argued that when Ukraine was fighting for its existence, no such support could be tolerated.

"The Russian Federation [for] thousands of years was trying to absorb Ukraine," he said.

"Russia has stolen our history, our traditions, and Russia never imagined its history and civilisation without Ukraine.

"When [Vladimir] Putin says that Russia and Ukraine are the one nation, he's in fact crossing out the right of Ukraine to exist."

As tensions rage inside the Lavra, war continues above ground​

Tensions between the Russian and Ukrainian elements of the Orthodox Church have existed for centuries — the Lavra itself reflects the two streams of the church.

A painting of Ukrainian orthodox priests

The art inside the Lavra reflects the two factions coexisting within the monastery. (ABC News: John Lyons)
Paintings or images of Ukrainian heroes sit nearby a portrait of Metropolitan Pavel.

"The Lavra for centuries was like a major historical and religious site for [the] orthodox church in Ukraine," Ukraine's Minister for Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko told the ABC.

"It's one of the biggest monasteries, which by origin comes from the 12th or 11th century … its importance from a historical and religious point of view is huge."

Mr Tkachenko said the UOC-MP had been behaving inappropriately during the war – including a refusal by some in that branch to recognise the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

He said the accusations against the Metropolitan Pavel were now a matter of the courts.

"Each of these cases needs to be proven by the secret service or police," he said.

"There are a lot of cases that are now under investigation, with accusations of collaboration, with accusations of not recognising the territorial integrity of [the] Ukrainian state by representatives of the Russian church."

A woman in a blue coat looks up at an opulent gold and blue church

The Pechersk Lavra is an 11th-century Orthodox monastery in the heart of Kyiv. (Reuters: Valentyn Ogirenko)
Mr Tkachenko said photographs of such a senior church figure as the Metropolitan with an electronic tag around his leg would have been confronting to many people.

But he did not express sympathy for his claims of hardship.

"He was, for many years, moving, not with this thing [around his ankle], but in a Mercedes car. So he used to know how to live a lucrative life," he said.

Asked about the view of some Ukrainians that the church had become a nest of spies, Mr Tkachenko said there was evidence of collaboration and misinformation.

"Unfortunately during the war, many cases happened where representatives of the [UOC-MP] were directly collaborative with Russian troops, or were provoking their believers … and spreading disinformation," he said.

"So as a machine of mass media, the Kremlin is using [the church] as a propagandistic machine tool in the war."

Mr Tkachenko said the question of loyalty within Ukraine's churches was not about freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

"This is a question to Russia, not for Ukraine," Mr Tkachenko said.

"In Ukraine there are a lot of different representatives of religious organisations – Jewish, Muslim, Protestants, Greek Catholics and so on. It was always a sort of dialogue between them, a sort of consensus on how to act."

And so while a political battle of sorts rages inside the Lavra, the rest of Ukraine continues its war with Russia.

"If you ask ordinary Ukrainians, 95 or 97 per cent of them will respond that they believe this war should be finished as soon as possible, but with only one caveat: victory for Ukraine," he said.


Does anyone now Open Doors? I know they´re Evangelicals but I think they do a lot for Christians of all denominations.


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