Ukrainian ruler Volodomir Zelensky is as much at war with the Churches as he is with Russia. The Ukrainian strongman had undertaken a campaign to systematically suppress religion in his failed state. In the latest example of his interference in the free exercise of religion, Metropolitan Epifanie, head of Zelensky’s artificially created Orthodox Church of Ukraine issued an “invitation” to Romanian parishes in northern Bucovina (a Romanian territory illegally seized by the Soviet Union during World War II and now occupied by Ukraine) to join with the new “Ukrainian” Church.
All of this comes on the heels of the savage beating of a Romanian priest by Zelensky’s secret police. Metropolitan Longhin Jar of the Banceni Monastery near Cernăuți was beaten and tortured and is in serious condition for defending his faith, language, and people. Commenting on the incident on his Telegram channel, the head of the Romanian Patriots Party, Mihai Lasca, said “This is how Zelensky treats our Romanians while the traitors in Romania’s leadership help rebuild Ukraine!”
Romanians living in the territories occupied by Ukraine face a campaign of oppression and ethnic cleansing by the Zelensky regime which has moved to suppress the use of the Romanian language in schools and churches. It also maintains an artificial distinction between Romanians and Moldovans. There have also been reports of Romanians being forcibly rounded up and sent to the front lines of the war to serve as cannon fodder for the Zelensky regime. Meanwhile, the Romanian government in Bucharest has done almost nothing to defend the rights of Romanians living in Ukraine.
The majority of Romanians in Ukraine belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which Ukrainian authorities accuse of being subordinate to Moscow. It is widely known that this is a political move to suppress religion and put it under direct state control. In his “invitation,” Epifanie sounded more like a political leader than a religious one. “We are waiting for everyone, we will create suitable comfortable conditions for everyone to stay, and together in one state, in one church we will build our common Ukrainian future,” he wrote. “We will build our Ukrainian world.”
The Romanian Orthodox Church does not recognize the artificial religious structure created by Zelensky and headed by Epiphany.