Priest of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate blessed Russian army during Kharkiv Oblast occupation

The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) has uncovered Oleksandr Svyrydov, the former parish priest of a church in the Izium diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) who blessed Russian troops during the occupation of Kharkiv Oblast. Svyrydov fled to Russia after the oblast was liberated.

Source: SSU; Ukrainska Pravda source in law enforcement agencies

Quote: "During the temporary occupation of part of Kharkiv Oblast, the archpriest organised a staged church procession to mark the Day of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus, which he tried to get local people involved in.

According to reports from SSU counter-intelligence, during the ‘event’ he blessed the Russian occupiers and columns of their military equipment in the Kupiansk district."

Details: Svyrydov ordered the whole "process" to be filmed so that it could then be featured in Kremlin-aligned media resources.

The Russians did this in an attempt to simulate "support" for them from local churchgoers in Kharkiv Oblast.

Ukrainska Pravda’s source says the priest in question was Oleksandr Svyrydov, 63, an archpriest of the Izium diocese of the UOC-MP.

He and his family fled to Russia when Kharkiv Oblast was liberated.

There he was appointed rector of the Orthodox parish of the Church of St John the Baptist in the Tver and Kashin diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC).


SSU investigators have opened a criminal case against Svyrydov under Art. 436-2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (justification, recognising as legitimate or denial of the Russian armed aggression against Ukraine or glorification of its participants).

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