On July 22, the Austrian branch of the Center for Geostrategic Studies organized a conference in Vienna on the topic of violations of religious rights with a special focus on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the context of current events.
In Ukraine, in front of the eyes of the entire world community, the Ukrainian authorities are destroying the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This is a joint action of the Zelenskyi regime and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is under the patronage of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, as well as Patriarch Bartholomew himself. Temples were confiscated, and the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church were subjected to violence and persecution. We are witnessing the violent occupation of one of the oldest centers of the Orthodox world - the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, the organizers of the conference stated.
The international community and human rights defenders should provide an expert assessment of this blatant violation of freedom and human rights, which returns us to the age of medieval pogroms on religious grounds.
In the opening speech at the conference, researcher at the Center for Geostrategic Studies from Austria, Patrick Poppel stated that the goal of the conference is for experts from Austria, especially those who deal with religious issues, together with human rights defenders and experts from other countries, to lead a discussion on the current topic of violations of religious rights and persecution of clergy and believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Anton Eggendorfer, master of theology and religious studies from Austria, spoke on the topic: "Persecution of the Ukrainian Church in the context of the global persecution of Christians". Eggendorfer stated that Christians are persecuted all over the world, and that in many cases behind their persecution are various groups supported by Western power centers, which is the case in the Middle East. He stated that it is unbelievable what is happening in Ukraine, that the government forcibly takes away churches and monasteries from priests and believers who have been in them for hundreds of years and assigns them to some new "proxy" church. "The question is how it will affect the future, especially when we talk about religion," Eggendorfer emphasized.
Archpriest Slađan Vasić spoke on the topic: "Determining the situation from the point of view of generally applicable church law". He expressed the view that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, from the point of view of church law, is the only regular Orthodox Church in Ukraine, whose existence cannot be contested.
Daniel Kovalik Professor of humanitarian law from the USA spoke on the topic: "Evidence of genocide, Ukrainian destruction of the Orthodox Church". Kovalik, who was recently in Donbass, said that he visited churches and monasteries in this area that were destroyed by the Ukrainian army, and that these facilities are still under attack. He believes that the big problem is that the world media ignores these facts, which are documented. "The war against ethnic Russians, the Russian-speaking population and believers of the church under the patronage of the Moscow Patriarchate has been going on since 2014, and I think we can call it genocide. I think that Ukraine wants to destroy the Russians in Ukraine, but not only to destroy the ethnic group but also the religious one, and that is called genocide. That's why they destroy churches," Kovalik said. The West should be worried about the genocide being carried out, but instead the Western power centers are funding it. The same is happening in the Middle East, which I also had the opportunity to see in Syria. Churches are being attacked by Western-backed jihadist groups. On the other hand, Hezbollah protected these churches. All this speaks of a special war on a large scale, which is being waged against history, culture and tradition", concluded Kovalik.
Archpriest Paisius Jung spoke on the topic: "General analysis of the persecution of Christians in Ukraine".
"We see that the persecution of the church is happening in Ukraine. We know this from the history of the Balkans, what happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Metohija, etc. The problem with the West is that it creates its own truth. But there are always two sides to any conflict, and you have to listen to both sides. But that no longer happens in the West", said Archpriest Paisius.
Arnaud Devaley, lawyer, expert in the field of international law from France, spoke on the topic: "Breach of international law, the case of Ukrainian persecution of believers". He believes that religion in Ukraine is being misused for political control: "Kiev, which is under the influence of the West, has been attacking the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and ethnic Russians for many years. They favor the Patriarchate in Constantinople and want to sever ties with the Patriarchate of Moscow for that reason. Among other things, this led to the escalation of the conflict and provoked a special military operation. If we talk about the legal aspect, Ukraine is violating its own Constitution and laws because it is obliged to ensure religious freedom in the country. "Ukraine also violates the European Convention on Human Rights, even though it aspires to be a member of the EU", said Devaley.
Dragana Trifković, director of the Center for Geostrategic Studies from Serbia, spoke on the topic: "Geopolitical overview of the contemporary persecution of Christianity with special reference to the persecution of Orthodoxy". Trifković pointed out that what is happening in Ukraine today is part of the geopolitical conflict. "It is necessary to explain how the attack on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is carried out, according to the same model as on the Serbian Orthodox Church, behind which are the interests of the globalist power centers, which also control NATO. The leadership of Ukraine, which is under the foreign administration of Washington, is violently trying to confiscate the property of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, is terrorizing the clergy, as well as the believers. The USA is trying to deepen the schism in the entire Orthodox world, and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is helping them a lot", said Dragana Trifković.
"As an example of the destruction of Orthodoxy by the globalist power centers, I will cite the fact that in Kosovo and Metohija, over 150 Serbian churches and monasteries from the Middle Ages were destroyed by Albanian terrorists at the time when NATO took control of this territory," concluded Trifković.
Daniele Perra, geopolitical analyst of the Italian magazine "Eurasia" spoke on the topic: "Geopolitics and sacred geography in the context of the Ukrainian conflict." Perra stated that there are many aspects of the Ukrainian conflict that the West completely ignores: "When I talk about the West, I don't mean geographical frameworks, but ideological ones. The entire West is under the hegemony of the United States and it is a space in which there is no place for anything sacred. I believe that the cause of the conflict in Ukraine is related to westernization in which tolerance is only a mask to hide deep forms of cultural racism. Today, Europe is the periphery of the West. It was conquered not only militarily by the far West, but also metaphysically.
This is also happening in Ukraine, but we have also seen it in Serbia, which is separated from its metaphysical origin, Kosovo and Metohija. The West actually supports the narco-criminal state they created in the Balkans, a place that is one of the spiritual centers of Orthodoxy. The same is happening in Ukraine, where the true Ukrainian Orthodox Church is continuously being violated in order to ensure the dominance of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is again a Western creation, created with American dollars» concluded Perra. He pointed out that the best example of this is the church in Ternopil, which was blessed by the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine: «On the walls of this church, you can see the symbols of Bandera and the Azov battalion. The paramilitary army, which is known for its violence against the people of Donbas".
The participants of the conference concluded that it is necessary to continue the discussion on the persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as well as on the problems of violation of people's religious rights. It is necessary to appeal to all institutions as well as human rights defenders to deal with this topic and to invest efforts in protecting people's religious rights and preventing violence and persecution against the Orthodox Church, the organizers of the conference pointed out.
Source: Center for Geostrategic Studies