Pastor Olav Fykse Tveit, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, in his letter of May 17 to the President of Ukraine Pyotr Poroshenko and the Speaker of the Verkhovnaya Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) Andrey Parubiy urged them to scrap bills that could put the church under the government control, the Intra-Christian section of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) website reports.
The community of the World Council of Churches “is deeply concerned about the intention of the Supreme Council of Ukraine (Verkhovnaya Rada – Editor) to put on the agenda of its meeting tomorrow bill nr 4128 for amending the law “On the freedom of conscience and religious organizations” and bill nr 4511 on the special status of religious organizations whose administrative centres are located within a country that is recognized by the Supreme Council of Ukraine (Verkhovnaya Rada – Editor) as aggressor state. ”
According to the World Council of Churches, “the above mentioned legislative initiatives, if adopted, endanger the freedom of religion and the equality of all churches and religious communities in Ukraine, and risk causing new tensions within Ukrainian society. .”
The message also points out that the bills “run counter to these efforts for democratic development of Ukraine.”
In Ukraine, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP) officially operates. Since 1992, however, the unrecognized Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC KP) is also active in the country. The bills to be reviewed in the Verkhovnaya Rada imply a break of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate. Besides, if the bills are passed, UOC MP churches may suffer illegal takeovers because people uninvolved in the life of a parish will be able to define the canonic affiliation of churches.
The clergymen and parishioners of monasteries and parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are gathering on May 18 in front of the Verkhovnaya Rada to serve a prayer for the correction of the members of parliament. By this prayer the orthodox want to show their protest against the bills No. 4128 and No. 4511.
Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency