Donetsk, Dec 10 – DAN. Ukrainian security service has not allowed the metropolitan bishop of Donetsk and Mariupol to cross the contact line without any legal grounds, the website of the Donetsk eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said.

"The press service of the Donetsk eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is profoundly perplexed and outraged by the fact that on December 9 Ukrainian authorities had prevented the Metropolitan Bishop of Donetsk and Mariupol Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Eminence Ilarion to cross the contact line at the official Novotroitskoye checkpoint."

The bishop was travelling to  the St. Nicolas and Basil Monastery of the Holy Dormition in the Nikolskoye township of Volnovakha district to attend the traditional joint prayer with archierea, brethren and pilgrims to celebrate the Holiday of the Icon of the Our Lady of the Sign.

At the checkpoint it turned out that Ilarion's electronic pass had been annulled following "special order from Kiev". The eparchy said such move was a provocation, and Kiev was following the policy of "blunt interference with Church affairs" by violating constitutional rights of its citizens and rights stipulated by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms on religious grounds.

This is not the first time the Ukrainian Orthodox church clergy faces limitation of rights and freedoms imposed by Ukrainian authorities.

Donetsk hopes for a public backlash following the incident. *ot