DONETSK, November 10. /TASS/. The Donetsk Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is infuriated at Kiev’s move to prohibit Metropolitan Hilarion of Donetsk and Mariupol from crossing the Donbass disengagement line, the Eparchy said in a statement published on its website.
"It is with deep indignation and disbelief that we have to inform the public that on December 9, 2018, the Ukrainian authorities prevented the incumbent head of the Donetsk and Marioupol Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Hilarion from crossing the disengagement line through the Novotroitskoye checkpoint," the statement reads.
According to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion was headed from Donetsk to the Holy Dormition Monastery in the Nikolskoye settlement located in the Volnovakhsky District of the Donetsk Region to participate in a joint prayer. This is a tradition has carried on for 20 years, with the participation of other bishops and numerous pilgrims on December 10, marking the day of the Icon of Our Lady of the Sign.
"Without any objective reason, Metropolitan Hilarion was deprived of the right to cross the disengagement line," the statement adds. "According to a Ukrainian Security Service official, the only ‘reason’ behind the situation was plain and mockingly unjustified, as he cited ‘special instructions from Kiev’," the Eparchy said. "Such actions show that some forces are not interested in establishing peace because of the current standoff, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the only link respected on both sides of the disengagement line," the document noted.
According to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the situation also proves that Ukraine’s authorities continue to pursue their policy of blatant meddling in the affairs of the church and overt persecution of its bishops and priests.
"We would like to hope that this gross violation of rights and freedoms won’t fall on deaf ears and in the future the church will be able to perform its service as enshrined in Ukraine’s constitution and laws," the statement concluded.