Ukraine's President Vladimir Zelensky launched a crackdown program with the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. TASS reported that this is because the country is banning religious organizations that may be affiliated with Russia. It added that it is a measure against alleged Russian intelligence agents within the church.

The president released a video message on a Telegram channel, discussing the five measures the government is employing for the cause.

Verkhovna Rada Bill and Ukraine's Crackdown on Orthodox Church

The report said that one of the actions that the country is doing is to 'conduct a theological examination of the Charter governing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.' It added that this would be to check if there are any connections with Moscow.

There's also the probe on the compliance and legal grounds of the properties of the church in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra monastery. Further, sanctions will also be imposed to individuals whose names would be made public in a later date.

Lastly, there's the planned reform of the State Service for Ethnopolitics and Freedom of Conscience to give it more power. Apart from all this, the Ukrainian government recently searched several Ukrainian Orthodox Churches which resulted to the finding of pro-Russian literature, millions in cash, and materials denying the existence of Ukraine.

Reuters reported that in President Zelenskiy's address, he said that the crackdown ensures that there are no opportunity for the aggressor state to weaken the country from within. He added, 'we will never allow anyone to build an empire inside the Ukrainian soul.'

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Criticisms over Crackdown

Metropolitan Kliment, a spokesperson for the church, said that there are no legal grounds for the pressure that Ukraine is applying to the church. He added that the church has always acted within the framework of the laws of Ukraine.

The former president of Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev called the Ukrainian authorities as 'Satanists' and 'enemies of Christ and the Orthodox faith.'

The article said that the UOC has condemned the Russian invasion but that it is still a cause of a concern for Ukrainians as the Orthodox Church in Russia supported its country's cause against Ukraine.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church

In an article by DW, it said that 60% of Ukrainians consider themselves as Orthodox Christians. There are two Orthodox churches in Ukraine, with the first one being the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OKU) led by Metropolitan Epiphanius recognized by Bartholomew I in Istanbul.

There's also the Ukrainian Orthodox Church or UOK which is a church within the Russian Orthodox Church. Apparently, 12,000 of the parishes of the UOK under the Russian church is in the country.

The article said that during the attacks of Russia, both of the churches condemned the acts, calling it 'war.' Additionally, the Russian Orthodox church leaders also wrote an open letter in March for the end to the war. The letter was signed by 286 priests and deacons. However, the article noted that this is a small number compared to the 36,000 priests of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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