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

India sees epidemic of internet use as net addiction rises Watch

Image of A new study has shown that Indians are more likely to be addicted to the internet, and are more affected when access is cut off.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new survey out of India shows that a large portion of the population is addicted to internet access in one form or another. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The survey from Tata Communications shows that 86% of Indians fear that they are missing something when not ... continue reading


Deal W. Hudson: A Telling Vignette from a Chinese High School Classroom

Image of I can imagine another time in my life that I might have challenged Amy to think instead about the principle of human rights that limits the power of the state, but that was of secondary importance in that time and place. What was important was to establish a human point of contact between me, a gray-headed American philosopher, and those handsome, bright-eyed students who represent the future of China.

By Deal W. Hudson

Last night I returned from a trip to China where I visited eight of its elite high schools and talked with the students about college education in the United States. In one class I raised the question of how was it possible that a Chinese student could be ... continue reading


Christians fight against Communism as Hong Kong protests continue Watch

Image of A protesters during marches against Chinese interference in Hong Kong, which is supposed to remain autonomous par the treaty signed before the 1997 handover between Great Britain and China.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The massive rallies in Hong Kong for political independence from China's overbearing Communist government have seen considerable support from the local  Christian communities-both Catholic and Protestant-despite the issue being wholly secular. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Despite international outrage Japan begins its annual dolphin slaughter Watch

Image of In the 2014 hunting season, which lasts from the end of September to March, fishermen will be able to kill thousands of dolphins and other porpoises.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The small Japanese coastal village of Taiji has begun another annual hunt for dolphins, which has caused Western environmentalists to clash with local traditionalists. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The small town of 3,500 people in the Wakayama prefecture ... continue reading


Orphan trafficking ring stopped by Indian High Court Watch

Image of Child trafficking between orphanages has become a major problem for some Indian states, where poorer children are shipped off to orphanages with low amounts of children, so that the orphanages may receive lucrative government aid.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An Indian court has begun legal action against orphanages that are supposedly sending large numbers of children into the southern Indian state of Kerala from northern states that are more impoverished. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The kerala High Court ... continue reading


Move by Bangladesh to LOWER legal age to marry raises international outrage Watch

Image of Bangladesh has the highest child marriage rate in Southeast Asia, which puts young women there at higher risk of sexual exploitation and domestic violence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bangladesh has an ongoing problem with child marriage: two out of three girls there marry before they reach adulthood. A proposal to lower the age to 16 years of age has prompted a storm of international criticism. Women's rights activists are calling it "a ... continue reading


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


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, Job 9:1-12, 14-16
1 Job spoke next. He said:2 Indeed, I know ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:10-11, 12-13, 14-15
10 Do you work wonders for the dead, can shadows rise ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:57-62
57 As they travelled along they met a man on the road ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 1st, 2014 Image

St. Therese of Lisieux
October 1: Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called ... 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