Moscow ecclesiastical court defrocks priest who replaced ‘victory’ with ‘peace’ in prayer

The ecclesiastical court of Moscow has defrocked the clergyman of St. Andrew’s Church, priest John Koval, who had previously replaced the word “victory” with “peace” in a prayer, media outlet Pravmir reports.

According to the outlet, the court hearing took place on 11 May. The members of the court voted unanimously.

At the beginning of February, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow personally banned the priest from performing services.

The reason for the decision was a denunciation from the parishioners, who did not like that the priest had replaced the word “victory” with the word “peace” in the Holy Rus prayer, which the patriarch had previously given his blessing to read in all Orthodox churches.

The text of the prayer features the line “arise, Lord, to help Your subjects and give us victory with Your force”. Koval instead prayed “arise, Lord, to help Your subjects and give us peace with Your force”.

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