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On February 18, 2019, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church information-education department reported with reference to the website of the Gorlovka diocese that Metropolitan Mitrofan of Gorlovka and Slavyansk was detained at a checkpoint and convoyed to the Slavyansk municipal police office.

According to the diocesan press service, one of the internal Ukrainian checkpoints carried out a regular inspection of documents after which it was announced that Metropolitan Mitrofan of Gorlovka and Slavyansk was detained ‘for identification’. To the question about the cause of the detention, the police officer answered that, according to the Ukrainian Law ‘On the National Police’, he had a right to detain anyone for a three-hour period without charge.

The hierarch was searched and an operation squad was summoned to convoy him to the Slavyansk municipal police office. The investigator had to let Metropolitan Mitrofan go. ‘I believe it was an attempt of the authorities to put pressure on me’, the archpastor said.

When his Eminence went out of the office, he saw a multitude of clergy and laity who came to support him. ‘I had a feeling that now I could put on my mantle and begin celebrating the liturgy. ‘I am very grateful to both the clergy and laity for the support and prayers they organized’, the ruling bishop of Gorlovka said.

Metropolitan Mitrofan had been going back to the Gorlovka diocesan administration from the village of Stavka, Limansk district, Odessa region, where he had celebrated the Divine Liturgy on the patronal feast of the church of St. Theodosius of Chernigov. The day before, he chaired a meeting of the Gorlovka diocesan clergy and parish council chairpersons, at the St. Sergius Convent. The meeting expressed unanimous support for His Beatitude Onufriy, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine, and stated the desire of the communities to remain in the fold of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

DECR Communication Service