The former Kirovgrad Metropolitan Joasaf (Guben) of the UOC, as well as the secretary of the diocese, Father Roman Kondratyuk, were sentenced to three years in prison with a two-year probationary period by the Kropyvnytskyi District Court. They are accused of inciting religious hatred and justifying the Russian occupation of southern and eastern Ukrainian territories. They did this with the help of written materials, Russian books and oral instructions to their priestly wards. According to the indictment, Metropolitan Yoasaf was in the close circle of the Moscow Patriarch Kirill and carried out his orders to inculcate among the Christians in his diocese sentiments in support of the Russian occupation and hostility to the Ukrainian state and its actions in defense of its sovereignty. He did this by presenting his pro-Russian activities as a defense of the canonical Church in Ukraine, and the importation of Russian literature on this topic into his diocese increased especially in 2021, the year before the Russian invasion.
“Do you understand the cause-and-effect relationship related to your actions regarding the distribution of these books?” Judge Serhiy Ozhog asked the accused clerics. The former Metropolitan of Kirovgrad answered succinctly: “I admit my guilt and will not say anything more.”
Metropolitan Yosaf and the secretary of the Kirovograd Diocese were convicted under Part 2 of Art. 28 and part 1 of Art. 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (violation of the equality of citizens depending on their racial, national, regional affiliation, religious beliefs, disability and on other grounds, committed by a group of persons on a preliminary conspiracy).
The two will not effectively serve the sentence, but will have to appear periodically for registration with the probation authorities.
Their defense can appeal the sentence within thirty days.
Metropolitan Joasaf was released from his metropolitan post in November 2022, and then St. The UOC Synod was motivated by his deteriorating health. At the same time, the leadership of two more dioceses was changed – in the Sumy region and in the Kharkiv region, as their metropolitans fled to Russia.