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Investigation reveals that Cyprus became a refuge for fugitive UOC priests who continue to glorify the occupiers

One priest manages to serve both in Kyiv and with the Russian Orthodox Church in Cyprus

The Russian parish in Cyprus has become a refuge for priests who have fled the UOC, including the de facto leadership of the UOC media corporation known as the Union of Orthodox Journalists (UOJ). At the same time, they continue to glorify Russia and the occupiers.

This is stated in a new OSINT investigation. The Russian Orthodox Church has the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Cyprus, which is located in the city of Limassol.

Since September 2018, the rector of this epicenter of Russian religious influence in Cyprus has been the former dean of the Pechersk Deanery of Kyiv, Archpriest Pavlo Povailaev, who fled Ukraine to Russia in 2014.

He probably fled Ukraine because of his ties to the Communist Party MP Oksana Kaletnyk, who was the only member of the Ukrainian delegation to vote against condemning the Russian occupation of Ukraine at the 23rd OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on July 1, 2014. Povaliaev first went to Russia, where he acquired Russian citizenship by personal decree of dictator Vladimir Putin, and then ended up in Cyprus.

After Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the first priest to flee Kyiv to come to Povaliaev's parish and begin serving there was Maksym Stepaniuk. He had a Russian passport because he had served there for several years. And in April 2022, he found himself at the ROC parish in Limassol as the second priest.

Another fugitive was Father Oleksiy Zoshchuk, the son of the priest of Nova Ushytsia in the Khmelnytskyi region, Petro Zoshchuk, who studied at the Russian seminary in Dzerzhynskyi and then at the Kyiv Theological Academy, became widely known after C14 radicals broke into the Kyiv office of the UOJ in early 2018. He managed to escape through the back door.

It is noteworthy that his father, a great patriot of Ukraine, Fr. Petro Zoshchuk, is now blessing jeeps for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as the UOJ, controlled by his son, writes about.

Tarasiy Piddubnyi was also among the fugitives. After the Russian invasion, in the summer of 2022, both the priest and his family were still in Kyiv. At that time, he was consecrating crosses at his church, which he was building in the Kriukiv district. In April 2023, he and his family found themselves in Cyprus, where he immediately began to appear in photographs of the ROC parish in Limassol.

Investigation reveals that Cyprus became a refuge for fugitive UOC priests who continue to glorify the occupiers

"In our opinion, the escape of Piddubnyi and Zoshchuk was planned and organized in advance. They knew where they would flee to and were preparing to leave," the investigators said.

In addition, the fugitive Kyivan Archimandrite Alipiy (Svetlichnyi) and the well-known Orthodox Russian propagandist Alexander Boryslavsky (aka Alexander Voznesensky, Kapibara, etc.) live in the same Limassol.

Another Kyiv priest of the UOC who regularly concelebrates with Povaliaev and other fugitives from Ukraine at the ROC parish in Limassol is Fr. Kurishko, who manages to serve both in Kyiv and with the Russian Orthodox Church in Cyprus.

Investigation reveals that Cyprus became a refuge for fugitive UOC priests who continue to glorify the occupiers

As a reminder, another collaborator, a representative of the UOC-MP fled from Ukraine to the territory temporarily occupied by Russia. It is a cleric of the Boryspil Eparchy, Yevhen Fedin, who served in the village of Katiuzhanka, Kyiv region: he admittedly collaborated with the occupiers during the occupation of a part of the border region.

As reported by OBOZ.UA, in early October, the Security Service of Ukraine said that since the beginning of the full-scale war, the SSU has exposed more than 60 clerics of the UOC-MP who worked for Russia. 68 criminal proceedings have been currently initiated against representatives of the UOC (MP), 14 of which are against the church's metropolitans.

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