Does a video on TikTok show a priest from the Orthodox Church of Ukraine performing a "satanic" dance to celebrate Easter? No, that's not true: The man seen in the video is not a priest but a Ukrainian actor. The video was recorded during the filming of a miniseries in 2020.
The graphic on the video, translated from Russian by Lead Stories staff, states:
TikToked PTsU 'priest' did a satanic dance for Easter.
PTsU is the Cyrillic acronym for Orthodox Church of Ukraine, a church, formed in 2018, that is engaged in a struggle with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, perceived by Kyiv as loyal to Moscow. Russian propaganda now frequently depicts clergy and supporters of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine as heretics or satanists.
The term "TikToked" is used to suggest that the man shown in the video is, supposedly, mentally deranged.
This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:
(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Sat Apr 22 15:55:06 2023 UTC)
The word "priest" is put in quotation marks to imply that the man is not a genuine priest.
But the video does not show an actual priest. The person dancing is the Ukrainian actor Ashot Arushanov, who is not a priest of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. On April 15, 2023, Arushanov posted a video of himself dancing on TikTok and wearing church vestments. His video received over 13 million views. Some social media users commented that the "priest" shown in the video behaved inappropriately or alleged that he was from a Ukrainian sect of schismatics.
Arushanov then published a post on Facebook and uploaded a new video on TikTok to clarify the context. He explained that he is not a priest, but an actor and a biker, and that this video was recorded during the 2020 filming of a miniseries titled "Tochka nul" ("Point Zero"), set during the Russian-Ukrainian war in eastern Ukraine in 2014-15.
On Facebook, Arushanov wrote that he danced without music but decided to add it later because he considered it appropriate. The song he dances to is called "Скоро Буде Пасха" ("Soon It Will Be Easter").
Amid the war between Russia and Ukraine, the United Nations has warned both countries against "the dangers of using religion to fuel conflict."