The City Council of Lviv, Ukraine has announced an immediate ban on the activities of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church “Dognal Group” on the territory of the Lviv City Territorial Community.
A. Sadovy, Counil Leader said: “”It’s a political decision. It was unanimously supported by all deputies of the city council. We address this decision to the President, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, and the Government, because only state authorities regulate the activities of religious organizations.” Both groups have been identified since 2014 as distributors of anti-Ukrainian and Pro-Russian propaganda, according to the Lviv City Council.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) is an Eastern Orthodox church in Ukraine, formerly under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). Since 2000, the Kyivan Patriarchate and the Moscow Patriarchate have been in fierce competition for membership as more and more Ukrainians converted to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which was recognized as separate from the ROC in the 90’s. The UOC-MP and the UOC are two different entities. The Ukrainian government fully supports the operations of the UOC, but not the UOC-MP, which they see as a means for the Russian government to infiltrate Ukrainian society. On 13 December 2018 a priest of the church, Volodymyr Maretsky, was sentenced in absentia to 6 years of imprisonment for hindering the Armed Forces of Ukraine in 2014 during the War in Donbass. In November–December 2018, Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) carried out raids across the country targeting the UOC (MP) churches and priests. on February 25th, 2022 the Ukrainian Orthodox Church officially cut ties with the Russian Orthodox Church due to the invasion of Ukraine.
The Dognal Group is a small, unregoznied breakaway sect of the Orthodox Greek Catholic Church which has been identified by the Lviv City Council as a disruptive organization which has harassed members of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church since 2010.
This curbing of religious freedom on Lviv, may be used as a propaganda piece by the Russian Federation which claims that Russian speakers in Ukraine are being targeted by the Zelesnky government, which they call “nazis”.