On September 10-12, 2023, the interfaith forum "Boldness to Peace" organized by the Community of St. Egidius was held in Berlin. Dialogue of religions and cultures". Archbishop Tikhon of Ruza, the administrator of the Berlin-German Diocese, made a report on discrimination of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the participants of the forum.
As the bishop noted, despite the significant steps that humanity has taken towards the protection of religious rights and freedoms, persecution and persecution on religious grounds continue: "And we are talking not only about the countries of the Middle East, which over the past years have given the world hundreds and thousands of new Christian martyrs and confessors — large-scale religious persecution unfolded in Currently in Ukraine, where the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, its clergy and believers have become the object of persecution."
He recalled that on July 26, the participants of the meeting of the United Nations Security Council expressed deep concern about this. In the summing up report of the Director of the Alliance of Civilizations, Ms. Nihal Saad, serious concern was expressed "that the cumulative impact of government measures directed against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church may be discriminatory." The audience was deeply impressed by the speech of the famous Kiev journalist and writer Jan Taksyur, who was in prison because he defended the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from harassment by the Ukrainian state.
"Currently, many bishops, priests and laypeople of the Ukrainian Church are being persecuted on far—fetched charges," Archbishop Tikhon of Ruza stated. Thus, on August 7, 2023, 74-year-old Metropolitan Jonathan of Tulchinsk and Bratslav, a well-known Orthodox hierarch and church composer, was sentenced by the Vinnytsia court to five years in prison with confiscation of property. At the same time, the legal and factual evidence of the hierarch's innocence provided by the defense side was ignored. Among the absurd charges brought against Metropolitan Ioanathan, an elderly, seriously ill man, are "actions aimed at forcibly changing or overthrowing the constitutional order or seizing state power," as well as "encroachment on the territorial integrity of Ukraine."
"The arrest of Metropolitan Ioanathan is another act of blatant violation of religious freedom and an example of persecution of faith," Archbishop Tikhon stressed. "The lawlessness that has been committed has already provoked a protest reaction from religious leaders." Bishop Tikhon drew the attention of those present to the fact that Patriarch Theophilus III of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Archbishop Anastasius of Tirana and All Albania, Patriarch Tavadros II of Coptic, Primate of the Assyrian Church of the East Catholicos-Patriarch Mar Ava III, Primate of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, spoke in defense of the hierarch. Catholicos Basil Mar Thomas Matthew III, a number of representatives of the international political and social communities.
"Taking into account the orientation of the current peaceful meeting of representatives of religions and cultures on dialogue and mutual understanding, we urge the forum participants to join the voice of church, political and public figures and speak in defense of Metropolitan Jonathan and at the same time in defense of the religious rights and freedoms of believers in Ukraine," Archbishop Tikhon of Ruza said.