The Russian Orthodox Church has called on the United Nations, the leaders of Germany and France, the pope and other spiritual leaders to protect believers in Ukraine in the face of official pressure on Moscow-appointed clerics.

Ukraine’s Orthodox clerics will gather for a meeting Saturday that is expected to form a new, independent Ukrainian church, as authorities ramped up pressure on priests to support the move. The Ukrainian church has been part of the Russian Church for centuries.

The Russian Church said on Friday that Patriarch Kirill has sent a letter to the U.N. secretary-general, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury and other spiritual leaders, urging them to help protect the clerics, believers and their faith in Ukraine.

Source: The Associated Press

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