Throughout the week, the Russian propaganda machine fueled narratives about the “persecution” of the Moscow Patriarchate Church in Ukraine. Propagandists claimed that the situation with the Moscow Patriarchate Church in Ukraine is “catastrophic.” Moreover, Russia called a meeting of the UN Security Council, allegedly because of the “oppression” of the Moscow Patriarchate Church, which it termed “the only canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine”. Meanwhile, even before the Security Council meeting, the Moscow Patriarchate denied having made any requests for assistance in protecting their rights. Its representatives claimed they have not appealed to any state, especially the one that has committed an armed offensive against Ukraine. At the same time, pro-Russian Telegram channels spread messages that people would be paid to participate in the festive service of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine on Epiphany. The posts also included a video featuring the Moscow Patriarchate abbot of the Pechersk Lavra Kyiv Cave Monastery, Metropolitan Paul, calling Patriarch Filaret a “schismatic” and the head of the OCU, Metropolitan Epiphanius, “self-ordained”. He also claimed that the Dormition Cathedral of the Kyiv Cave Monastery was “given” to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine to hold a service. Allegedly, people from all over Ukraine will be brought there “deliberately” and paid to participate in the religious service. Eventually, these statements by Metropolitan Paul of the Moscow Patriarchate led to the opening of criminal proceedings for inciting religious hatred. Moreover, pro-Kremlin propaganda on social media and Telegram channels alleged that Ukraine wants to destroy Orthodox Christianity and promotes paganism. According to the Constitution of Ukraine, Ukrainians are free to hold any worldview and to practice any religion they choose. Churches and other religious organizations in Ukraine are separated from the state, but this does not give representatives of any religion the right to break the law.
Victoriia Namestnik, “Detector media”