Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By CNA/EWTN News

3/20/2014 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Persecution of crimean church nothing new; experienced persecution in Soviet times

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."

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was heavily persecuted during the Soviet era; it was considered illegal, and operated completely underground until 1989.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was heavily persecuted during the Soviet era; it was considered illegal, and operated completely underground until 1989.

Highlights

By CNA/EWTN News

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/20/2014 (6 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: rimea, Catholic Church, persecution


(CNA/EWTN News) -- "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.

Prayer, fasting and almsgiving.


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.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Asia Pacific

Islamic State planned beheadings in Australia Watch

Image of Mohamed Elomar, an Australian who joined the Islamic State, and one of the primary examples of homegrown extremism.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Australian officials have prevented an Islamic State plot to carry out and film the beheading of a random person in Sydney, as part of a series of public executions intended to strike terror into the West. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pre-dawn raids across ... continue reading


Parish dedicated to John Paul II the first in Chinese-speaking world Watch

Image of Construction of the church began in February 2014, thanks to donations from the local Catholic community. Father Orifiamma said the parish still needs financial help to finish paying for the costs of construction.

By CNA/EWTN News

The Diocese of Kaohsiung in Taiwan has become the first in the Chinese-speaking world to have a parish dedicated to St. John Paul II, where a first-class relic of the Polish saint's blood is kept. Kaohsiung, Taiwan (CNA) - Archbishop Peter Chen-Chung Liu of Kaohsiung ... continue reading


Pauline Sisters celebrate their 50 years in Goa, India Watch

Image of In keeping with the Founder's vision, the Paulines have gone beyond the confines of churches and schools to reach out to people in their homes and marketplaces.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Pauline Sisters are due to celebrate their 50 years of presence in Goa, India, this September 20th. Goa is the former headquarters of the Asian Church. On September 20. The Pious Society of the Daughters of Saint Paul, or DSP opened its first house in India ... continue reading


China takes fight to internet! Begins banning mail-order bride websites Watch

Image of Chinese and Cambodian authorities are targeting bride-buying websites in a new anti-human-trafficking initiative, aimed at preventing the exploitation of women from poorer countries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Online bride-shopping websites are being targeted by Chinese and Cambodian authorities in a new anti-human-trafficking initiative, aimed at preventing the exploitation of women from poorer countries. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "We support the crackdown and ... continue reading


QUITE A BOAST! North Korea has 'the world's most advantageous human rights system,' leaders say Watch

Image of North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Il poses for a photo as he oversees a tactical rocket firing drill last June.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Widely regarded as the most oppressive government on the face of the Earth, a report from North Korean officials heralds that the nation has "the world's most advantageous human rights system." The international community largely scoffed at this bold, ... continue reading


Vietnamese children will be able to be adopted by American parents after six-year ban Watch

Image of Americans who wish to adopt Vietnamese children can only to do with child older than five years of age, those with special needs or groups of siblings.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

American parents who wish to adopt children from Vietnam will be able to do again shortly after a six-year ban. However, Vietnamese children who can be adopted by U.S. citizens must be older than five years of age. While the ban has been lifted, this new ... continue reading


Hundreds of children rescued from Illegal Muslim schools in China Watch

Image of Chinese authorities have been waging a battle against Muslim separatists in the western region of Xinjiang, which has left hundreds dead. A recent raid saved nearly 200 students from an illegal Islamic school.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Officials in China's Xinjiang region have rescued 190 children and detained 85 people in a series of widespread raids on underground Islamic schools. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The sweep was reported in China's state-run Legal Daily, and reported that the ... continue reading


Nearly half of all girls in South Asia are married before they turn 18 years of age Watch

Image of One in five girls are married before the age of 15, giving India the highest rates of child marriage in the world, the report said.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a United Nations report, nearly half of all girls in South Asia marry before they turn age 18. Published by the U.N. children's agency UNICEF last week, the report lays bare what it calls "glaring inequalities." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


After devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, Church moves in to construct 25 chapels and emergency shelters Watch

Image of A chapel that was destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan as it ravaged much of the Philippines in November 2013.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The social service arm of the archdiocese of Manila is building 25 chapels in areas of the Philippines that were devastated by the super typhoon that passed through in 2013. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Church restoration is very important because it ... continue reading


Born again capitalists? China added 40,000 new millionaires last year Watch

Image of Indications of wealth in China is sometimes measured by the growth of luxury item purchases.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For a government that is ostensibly communist, China sure is adding a lot more millionaires among its populace. A new study found that China created 40,000 new millionaires last year in 2013, bringing the total to 1.09 million. The catch? That figure is still ... continue reading


All Asia Pacific News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 15:12-20
12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 17:1, 6-7, 8, 15
1 [Prayer Of David] Listen, Yahweh, to an upright ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:1-3
1 Now it happened that after this he made his way ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 19th, 2014 Image

St. Januarius
September 19: St. Januarius was born in Italy and was bishop of Benevento ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter