At least 59 Ukrainian churches destroyed

Damaged church building in Donetsk. Photo Facebook, press service Donetsk diocese

Ukrainian church buildings are not safe from Russian fire. The Ukrainian government announced that the invading troops have already destroyed at least 59 religious buildings.

Ecclesiastical authorities have registered 59 buildings destined for religious activities that the Russians fired at. Most of these buildings are from the Orthodox Church, the Dutch press service ANP reports.

Many of the orthodox churches are part of the Moscow Patriarchate. They are prevalent, in particular in the east of Ukraine. The monastery Hrissoskalitissa, for example, is one of the holiest places of Russian Orthodoxy. The building is partly destroyed.

Furthermore, the national political and freedom of conscience department in Kyiv reported that a Roman-Catholic Church and five Evangelical churches were hit. In addition, three mosques and a Jewish synagogue were damaged by war violence.

Persecution has intensified since the Russian invasion

The Russian forces have killed four priests. Two others were kidnapped, Die Tagespost reported on Saturday.

NGOs urge the Eastern Orthodox community to break all ties with the Moscow Patriarchate. The reason for their appeal is the support of the head of the Patriarchate, Patriarch Kirill, for the invasion. The NGOs request the Orthodox Churches to condemn the ideology of the “Russian World.”

In regions that the Russians had taken over earlier, such as Donetsk, Russian forces started to persecute religious minorities while declaring the Orthodox religion of the Moscow Patriarchate as the dominant religion. “Priests of the Moscow-independent Ukrainian Orthodoxy and the Byzantine-rite Catholic Church were abducted and tortured”, Die Tagespost writes. According to the newspaper, the persecution in the regions has intensified since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Local media announced on Saturday that a Holocaust memorial, Drobizkij Jar, in Charcov, was destroyed by Russian fire. It is not the first time that a Jewish monument has been damaged. It also happened to a memorial in Kyiv, just after the start of the Russian invasion.
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