Verdict Expected for Priest Charged with Espionage

Verdict Expected for Priest Charged with Espionage

An Orthodox Church of Ukraine monastery is surrounded by trees with a city in the background.
An "Orthodox Church of Ukraine" monastery.
Photo: Wikipedia / Rbrechko (cc)

When Father Kostiantyn Maksimov was taken captive by Russian occupation forces in May 2023, little was known about the whereabouts of the Ukrainian Orthodox priest. In late March 2024, the Russian prosecutor for the Zaporizhzhia Region announced that Father Kostiantyn would be facing espionage charges. (For more details, see this report.)

Reports indicate that the criminal trial began on June 6th and was held at the Zaporizhzhia Regional Court in the city of Melitopol. However, Russian officials have refused to announce the identity of the judge hearing the case. Final judicial arguments are scheduled to be heard on July 31st, with a verdict to be announced on August 2nd. If convicted, Father Kostiantyn will likely be transferred to a prison in Russia, where he could be forced to serve up to 12 years.

Please remember to pray for Father Kostiantyn, along with all those who have been detained by Russian forces in the occupied territories of Ukraine because they are not associated with the Russian-approved churches. May these imprisoned believers continue to stand firm on the promises of God, relying on Him for needed provision, encouragement and strength. Pray that peace will soon come to this war-torn nation and that justice will prevail for our Christian brothers and sisters who have been affected by the ongoing violence.

Ukraine News

  • Priest Fatally Tortured; Others Facing Deportation
    A large monastery with gold domesis set in a wooded area.
    An "Orthodox Church of Ukraine" monestary.
    Photo: Wikipedia / Rbrechko (cc)

    Members of the Russian occupation forces seized Father Stepan Podolchak on February 13th. The Christian leader had been serving as the abbot of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in Kalanchak, a village located within the Russian-occupied Kherson Region. Taking him away with a bag over his head, the soldiers insisted that he go with them for questioning. Two days later, Father Stepan's battered body was found on the village street. Some reports state that he had also suffered a bullet wound to the head. 

  • Mysterious Disappearance of Imprisoned Church Leaders
    A church is behind an iron gate.
    A church in Melitopol
    Photo: Wikipedia / Олег Довгаль (cc)

    A recently published Persecution & Prayer Alert report had requested prayer for various churches that were forcibly closed in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine. (To review the previously posted report, go to this page.) Further reports have since been released informing that other churches have faced similar trials.