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CHURCH, STATE, AND RUSSIA’S WAR ON UKRAINE

Members

Representative Joe Wilson

Chairman

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Representative Steve Cohen

Ranking Member

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Representative Mike Lawler

Commissioner

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II

Commissioner

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Representative Victoria Spartz

Commissioner

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Witnesses

The Most Reverend Yevstratiy (Zoria)

Metropolitan of Bila Tserkva

The Most Reverend Borys Gudziak

Archbishop

Philadelphia of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

Rev. Dr. Igor Bandura

Vice President

International Affairs for the Baptist Union of Ukraine

The Putin regime has long used the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) to consolidate its power at home and abroad. Under the leadership of Patriarch Kirill, the ROC has explicitly endorsed Russia’s war on Ukraine, even blessing weapons for the invasion. Churches under the mantle of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) had long been viewed as actual or potential surveillance and influence outposts for the Putin regime, directly contributing to the official establishment of the independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine in 2019. Additionally, the Putin regime has exported its widespread internal persecution of non-ROC-affiliated Christians to the territories it occupies in Ukraine.

This hearing will assess Putin’s political control over ROC institutions and the implications for Ukraine’s religious and political culture. Relatedly, panelists will speak to harassment and denial of religious freedoms in territories occupied by Russia. Witnesses will also testify to how religious institutions, churches, and individual Christians have supported Ukraine in wartime and the future of church-state relations within Ukraine.

His Beatitude Epiphaniy, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine, will give opening remarks.

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