KIEV, November 30. /TASS/. Abbot of Kiev-Pechersk Lavra Metropolitan Paul has said he will not yield to political pressure exerted on him by the Ukrainian authorities on instructions from President Pyotr Poroshenko and does not recognize any other church except the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC).

“Today, pressure is exerted on me from all sides. I want to assure, however, that I do not recognize any other church in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church,” he told reporters at a news conference on Friday. “This is political pressure put on me. People phoned me last night to say, ‘Stand firm, we are with you. Never betray the Church.”

He also stressed that Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), which conducted searches in the monastery earlier in the day, “acted on orders from Poroshenko.”

“Some people claim today that I offended Mikhail Denisenko (Filaret – TASS). I did not offend him. I just quoted the Holy Scripture, which says that, if a person does bad things, splits the church and blesses people to wage war, he is the son of the Devil, no more and no less.”

Commenting on the SBU’s statements, which asserted that the searches in the monastery were conducted as part of criminal proceedings initiated under Part 2 of Section 161 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (“Violation of citizens’ equality depending on race, ethnicity, religious beliefs and inciting interfaith hostility”), Metropolitan Paul noted that “the confessions are not Makariy and Fiilaret” but people.

For his part, defense attorney Alexander Romasev who attended the news conference said that no charges had been brought after the searches. “That was actually an illegal search conducted immediately, without any investigative activities. No charges were brought against anyone,” he stressed.

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