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Ukrainian Orthodox body says Soviets suppressed Catholics for supporting Nazis

March 14, 2016

A statement from the Ukrainian Orthodox body in union with the Moscow patriarchate has claimed that the brutal suppression of the Byzantine-rite Ukrainian Catholic Church during the Stalin era was a reaction against Catholics' support for the Nazis.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church- Moscow Patriarchate, in a statement for the 70th anniversary of the crackdown, said that "the main reason for the liquidation of the [Ukrainian Catholic Church] by the punitive organs of the Soviet Union was the overt cooperation of this religious denomination with the Nazi occupying forces and their henchmen in Western Ukraine."

The Orthodox body acknowledged the suffering of Catholics under the Stalinist government, but quickly added that the Orthodox faith suffered as well. The statement rehearsed old complaints about the tensions between Orthodox and Catholics in Ukraine dating back to the 16th century. 

The Russian Orthodox Church and its Orthodox allies in Ukraine have regularly charged that Ukrainian Catholics have seized Orthodox churches in the years since the collapse of the country's Communist government. Many of the churches in question were originally Catholic churches, confiscated by the Stalin government and handed over to more cooperative Orthodox clerics.


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  • Posted by: David K - Mar. 14, 2016 7:34 PM ET USA

    So we're meant to believe that Stalin treated Ukrainian Catholics with kid gloves before 1941, are we? They certainly didn't. In fact, they were already executing priests in 1930s and 10940, and they executed thousands of Ukrainians as they pulled out of the Ukraine including many clergy. I suppose they need to pull out the Nazi canard because their complaints about the repossessed churches look more and more ridiculous.