Issue 7, Articles 24-25, 21 July 2000

Immediate reporting on violations of religious liberty and on religion in
communist and post-communist lands.

AND NOW UKRAINE. He was given two minutes to get back on the plane to
London and refused permission to contact the US embassy in Kiev. The
Ukrainian vice-consul in New York stated that Binkley was not on a black list -
or he would not have received a visa; instead the vice-consul surmised that the
decision to refuse entry could only have been taken by the Security Service of
Ukraine (SBU, for successor to the KGB).

PATRIARCH. The Moscow Patriarchate and Kiev Patriarchate report differing
views on the latter´┐Żs recent visit to the Simferopol region.

Friday 21 July 2000

by Felix Corley, Keston News Service

In what he describes as `almost a carbon copy' of his denial of entry to
Kazakhstan at Almaty airport in early June (see KNS 22 June 2000), American
Protestant missionary DAVID BINKLEY was denied entry to Ukraine at
Kiev's Borispol airport on 13 July despite having a valid Ukrainian visa issued
just three days earlier by the Ukrainian consulate general in New York. His
wife GALINA, who holds a Russian Federation passport, was not prevented
from entering Ukraine but chose not to do so and returned with her husband to
the United States. Binkley fears the Russian authorities - who have barred him
`permanently' (see KNS 19 July 2000) - have placed his name on a black-list,
which they have shared with other CIS republics. `We have learned first hand
about the far reaching influence of the Russian security service,' he told Keston
News Service. The Ukrainian vice-consul in New York was unaware that
Binkley had been refused entry and maintained that the SBU, the former KGB,
must have been behind the decision. The SBU refused to explain its decision to

Binkley's private double-entry visa was issued on 10 July and is valid until 10
January 2001. He was invited by his wife's parents, who live in the town of
Slavyansk in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. Barred both from Russia
and Kazakhstan, Binkley - a member of the North Atlanta Church of Christ in
the US state of Georgia - decided to establish a mission in Slavyansk. `Our plan
was to plant a new church and distribute humanitarian aid from other Churches
of Christ,' he told Keston from the United States on 17 July.

Binkley arrived at Kiev airport on a flight from London, purchased the required
insurance, and then presented his and his wife's passports at the passport
control counter. `When I handed over our passports, I could tell that something
was not going exactly right,' Binkley recounted. `Another agent walked over
and looked at a message on his computer monitor. Then a more senior agent
became involved and I was told I would not be allowed to enter Ukraine. No
reason was given.' Binkley asked if it was related to a court case that took place
while he was pastor of a church in the Russian town of Magadan, showed them
copies of the acquittal sentence and pointed out that he had mentioned this in
his visa application. `All to no avail however, because they told me that I had
only two minutes to get on the plane back to London.' He was refused
permission to contact the US embassy in Kiev.

Asked who had refused him entry, Binkley told Keston: `I can only know from
what happened that it was the Border Guard Service. The person in charge of
informing me wore a Border Guard uniform. But he received his instructions
from a "back room" where he took my passport.'

After checking on his computer, YURI SHKURENKO, the Ukrainian vice-
consul in New York, confirmed to Keston on 20 July that his office had issued
Binkley with the visa on 10 July, but was unaware that he had not been allowed
into the country. `I have no idea why he was refused entry,' Shkurenko told
Keston. The vice-consul confirmed that the visa as issued is still valid and
denied that Binkley's name had appeared on any black-list. `If he received a
visa that means he is not on any black-list.' Shkurenko surmised that if Binkley
had been refused entry at Kiev airport the decision could only have been taken
by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU, the successor to the KGB). He
denied that the Ukrainian authorities receive any black-list from the Russian
authorities. `Why should we have a Russian black-list? We are a sovereign
state and have the right to take our own decisions. We have our own Ukrainian
black-list, but I do not have any information about that.' He declined to
speculate on the type of people who might end up on the Ukrainian black-list.

The SBU in Kiev declined absolutely to explain why Binkley had been refused
entry to the country. Keston gave OLEKSANDR SKRUPNYK, the head of the
SBU's press centre, the details of the case on 21 July, then phoned back fifteen
minutes later for a comment. `The only thing I can say,' Skrupnyk told Keston,
`is that the competent organs - whether in Ukraine or any other countries - do
not comment on such events of a precautionary nature.' He declined to be
drawn on whether the SBU believes Binkley represents a threat to the
Ukrainian state or what he believes this threat might be. `The Vienna
Convention does not oblige states to give an explanation of a refusal to grant
entry.' Skrupnyk declined even to confirm that it had been the SBU that had
barred Binkley's entry or to say whether Binkley's visa remains valid. He also
declined to say whether the Ukrainian security authorities receive black-lists
from the Russian security service, the FSB.

Binkley has informed the US embassy in Kiev of the events surrounding the
denial of entry and reports that the embassy has promised to investigate and to
inform him of what they discover. (END)

Friday 21 July 2000

by Anna Vassilyeva, Keston News Service

Protesters from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church loyal to the Moscow
Patriarchate (UOC MP), including clergy, nuns, monks and laypeople,
obstructed the pastoral visit to the Crimea in late June by the head of the
Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Kiev Patriarchate (UOC KP), Patriarch FILARET
DENISENKO. However, the Patriarch denied to Keston News Service that the
demonstrationns disrupted his programme an claims that he fulfilled everything
he planned. Officials of the Crimean diocese of the UOC MP have denied to
Keston that they organised the protests, describing them as spontaneous
expressions of ordinary church members' feelings.

Before the visit posters were put up in the churches of the UOC MP's
Simferopol and Crimean diocese declaring that the Crimea was not a place for
the `schismatic'. Protests marked Patriarch Filaret's entire visit, which lasted
from 23 to 25 June, with pickets gathered along his expected route. Many held
banners with slogans such as `Filaret - get out of the Crimea' and `Anathema to
Denisenko'. Protesters were out in force at his point of arrival, Simferopol
airport, where the police had to move them further away to allow the normal
work of the airport to proceed. The Patriarch's vehicle had to leave the airport
along a different road. In the port of Sevastopol, where the patriarch had
planned to visit Khersones (the place of Grand Prince Vladimir's baptism),
meet the city authorities and bless the students of the Ukrainian Naval Institute,
he succeeded only in visiting the Institute of Nuclear Physics.

The Crimean diocese of the UOC KP has several parishes, including in
Simferopol, Dzhankoy region and the village of Perevalnoye. The diocese does
not have a bishop and is under the direct supervision of the patriarch. Patriarch
Filaret, who used to be a Metropolitan of the Moscow Patriarchate, was elected
patriarch of the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev
Patriarchate at a Church council in October 1995. The Holy Synod of the
Russian Orthodox Church has deprived him of holy orders and anathematised
him for his `schismatic' activity.

Hieromonk PAISI (DMOKHOVSKY), the secretary of the UOC MP Diocese
in Sevastopol district, told Keston on 14 July in an interview in Khersones that
he objected to a `pastoral visit' by the leader of a group that has `neither a
single parish nor a parishioner' in Sevastopol. `As for Khersones, it is not quite
true that Filaret was not allowed there, or maybe quite untrue. There were
simply believers who stood with banners expressing their opinion about Filaret.
He probably did not want to see those people and called the director of the
reserved zone (Khersones) to say that he was cancelling his visit. It is a very
conventional notion - "was not allowed" - he himself did not want to come.'
Defending the demonstrators' actions, Hieromonk Paisi added: `We are also
entitled to express our feelings.'

Hieromonk Paisi told Keston that the Institute of Nuclear Physics was the only
organisation in Sevastopol which received Filaret. `He was going to meet the
city administration, but was rejected. He intended to meet local entrepreneurs -
but there were no meetings,' he declared. `Filaret did not officially inform the
city administration and therefore they did not deem it necessary to meet him.'
As for Patriarch Filaret's planned meeting with graduates of the Ukrainian
Naval Institute in Sevastopol, Father Paisi declared: `They did not receive him.
I was present there instead.' Father Paisi asserts that the authorities of the
institute decided which priests should be present.

In a telephone interview with Keston on 4 July, Patriarch Filaret maintained
that the whole programme of the visit went well. `I visited Sofievka, a village
not far from Simferopol where I consecrated the cross at the location of the
construction of a new church, then I had a meeting with the Crimean
clergymen. I also visited Sevastopol Nuclear Naval Academy where I was
present at the graduation ceremony and visited Bakhchisaray, where I had a
meeting with MUSTAFA JEMILEV, the chairman of the Crimean Tatar
Mejlis, and Mufti of the Crimea EMIR ALI ABLAYEV. On 25 June I served
the liturgy in our Simferopol church. I was told that there were pickets in
Simferopol airport, but I did not see them personally.'

ALEXANDER SELEVKO, deputy head of the Committee on Religious
Affairs of the Crimea, told Keston on 5 July in an interview in his office that
Patriarch Filaret's visit had aroused protests, including at the airport. Although
he professed himself unaware of how the patriarch had fared in Sevastopol,
Selevko noted that he had been able to hold a liturgy in the Ss Vladimir and
Olga church in Simferopol `without any incidents'. Asked what measures the
authorities had taken to stop the obstruction, Selevko replied that at the airport
the pickets were moved away from the gates to enable its normal work to
proceed. He admitted that his office had no information on who had initiated
the obstruction.

Keston's efforts to find out from the Metropolitanate of the UOC MP in Kiev
whether it was aware of the protests instigated by the Crimean archdiocese and
whether it had approved them failed. In the absence of Metropolitan
VOLODYMYR (SLOBODAN), the senior hierarch of UOC MP, nobody
would take the responsibility of commenting on the actions of the Crimean
archdiocese. After numerous telephone calls, the metropolitan's assistant
bishop IOANN (SIOPKO) told Keston by telephone on 10 July: `I shall not
give any interview without the blessing of Metropolitan Vladimir.'

The Crimean archdiocese failed to respond to Keston's request for comments
on the obstruction of Patriarch Filaret's visit. Keston spoke by telephone on 10
July to Archbishop LAZAR SHVETS, who requested the questions be sent by
fax. Nevertheless, there has been no response to the questions Keston faxed to
him on 10 July. Asked whether the diocese had instigated the rally in
Sevastopol Father Paisi declared: `No, people understand everything
themselves. There were no sanctions.' He claimed that Patriarch Filaret had not
complained of any `aggressive actions' by believers.

During his meeting with Jemilev, Patriarch Filaret deplored the actions of the
local Orthodox church in the Crimea, such as setting up crosses and religious
placards which are to be found all over the peninsula, complaining that in a
multi-confessional society like the Crimea such actions created inter-
confessional tension. One of the issues discussed during the meeting was the
prospect of recognition of the UOC KP by Ecumenical Patriarch
BARTHOLOMEW in Istanbul.

As for the meeting in Switzerland proposed by the Ecumenical Patriarch
Bartholomew to resolve the disputes between the competing Orthodox
jurisdictions in Ukraine, Father Paisi accused the Ecumenical Patriarch of
becoming a `source of schisms', citing the divisions in Estonia and, he claimed,
in Finland. `I do not know how the meeting in Switzerland will end, but in my
opinion this issue must be resolved in Moscow, because for a long time our
church has been a part of the Moscow Church.' (END)