Ioann Koval led one of his first services in Turkey after Russian Orthodox Church leadership decided to defrock him following his prayer for peace in Ukraine. “If you are not loyal, then there is no place for you in church,” added Desnitsky, a longtime expert on the Russian church. Of more than 40,000 clergymen in the Russian Orthodox Church, only 300 priests signed a public letter calling for peace in Ukraine. “It breaks what seems to be a monolithic position of the Russian Orthodox Church,” she told AP. The Russian Orthodox Church explains the repressions against the priests who spoke against the war are punishment for their so-called engagement in politics.