The vicar of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), Pavel, said that the new charges against him by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) were fabricated. As the clergyman noted on July 13, he is being tried for faith in Christ and for refusing to recognize schismatics from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU).

On the same day, the SBU stated that the Metropolitan of the UOC had repeatedly violated the law. The intelligence service indicated that in one of the video interviews, he allegedly “denied the existence of Ukraine as a sovereign state,” and also called the situation in eastern Ukraine a civil conflict that has been going on since 2014.

The Metropolitan, who was taken to court, said that he had never been against his country, and the lines from the sermon imputed to him were taken out of context.

“This is all untrue, because I have never been and will not be against my state. What I have preached, I will continue to preach. Neither the prosecutor nor the judge had ever been to church, and they had not heard these torn lines from my sermon. This indicates disrespect for the holy order, for believers, ”RIA Novosti quotes him as saying.

He noted that he would not be able to recognize the schismatics from the OCU and would never go for it.

“Your judgment is one thing, but there is also God’s judgment, the final one, before which we will all answer. I’d rather die than betray,» he said.

The SBU brought new charges against the priest under the articles “Justification, recognition as lawful, denial of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, committed by an official repeatedly” and “Violation of the equality of citizens depending on their religious beliefs, committed by an official repeatedly.” They are punishable by up to eight years in prison.

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