Moscow, August 13, 2015
President of Mercy Without Borders fund, archpriest Zakharia Kerstyuk has confirmed information on detention in Donbass of clerics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church reporting to Moscow Patriarchate. He posted the confirmation in Facebook, reports TASS.
"Ukrainian military used brute force and arrested the nun Varvara (secular name Tatiana Shirolapova), archimandrite Nikon (Alexander Dublyazhenko) and priest Ledonid Mironenko," father Zakharia said. "The only thing mother Varvara managed to tell us by telephone was that the Ukrainian military had arrested them."
Father Zakharia also said the clerics had come to the buffer zone on a humanitarian mission.
"Mother Varvara delivers humanitarian aid to parishes located along the frontline at the risk of her life and it was the distribution of aid that she was doing at the moment of arrest," he said.
"She had more than once received threats and warnings she should stop bringing aid to the frontline," Zakharia said.
Darya Morozova, the ombudsperson for human rights of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic confirmed detention of the clerics earlier on Wednesday. She said the Ukrainian military had accused them of assistance to a terrorist organization.
Morozova said however she had information only on the two priests. "As for the nun, I don’t have the data on it."
She admitted it would be rather difficult to attain the priests’ release.
"This isn’t the first case since the beginning of the year the clerics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church reporting to Moscow Patriarchate find themselves in detention," Morozova said. "Hieromonk Feofan was detained earlier but we managed to release him from captivity under a one-for-sixteen formula."
"A second arrest of clerics during the year cannot be called in any other way than an outrage on faith," she said. "The pro-Kiev forces don’t care for religion at all. To say nothing of a crude encroachment on human rights."
The Ukrainian law-enforcement authorities have released the nun and one of two priests whom they detained earlier, reported press secretary of the Donetsk Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate Georgy Gulyayev.
“Two of the three people detained at an Ukrainian road block have been released: they are Mother Barbara and Priest Leonid. Law-enforcement officers have no complaints about them,” RIA-Novosti cites his words.
It has also been reported that the third detainee, Archimandrite Nikon (Dublyazhenko) was taken to the Ukrainian Security Service’s office in Mariupol.
The information on the release of Nun Barbara is confirmed by TASS with the reference to the “Miloserdiye bez Granits” (“Mercy Without Borders”) charitable foundation’s chairman, Archpriest Zacharias Kerstyuk, who reported this on his “Facebook” page.
“Through our joint efforts and prayers Mother Barbara has been released. I have spoken with her on the telephone, she has expressed her gratitude to everybody,” he wrote. “It is painful to imagine what the nun had to undergo during her arrest near Volnovakha and interrogation at the Ukrainian Security Service’s office in Mariupol where she was taken.”
“Very soon the charitable foundation will inform the UN and all possible international organizations about the unprecedented action of the law-enforcement agents towards the volunteer,” he said.