Kiev, February 28, 2019
BBC News Ukraine conducted its own investigation into the calculating of the number of communities that have changed jurisdiction from the canonical Ukrainian Church to the schismatic church and found that, despite constant declarations of hundreds of parishes having transferred, there is, in fact, no organized data on the matter.
The Ukrainian state authorities and schismatics claim that as many as 350 parishes have transferred, while the canonical Church has said that only 36 parishes have voluntarily transferred, while another 52 have been seized either physically or by falsified voting.
The BBC journalists spoke with several officials responsible for religious affairs and representatives of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) to see if there was an official list of parishes that have changed their jurisdiction.
“But it turns out there was no such thing. One of our interlocutors admitted that even senior officials who voice specific figures cannot refer to official data,” the BBC reports.
The same response was received from a representative of the OCU—there is no official registry of parishes.
“There is no official data on a list of parishes that have transferred to the OCU,” said the head of the state Committee for Religious Affairs Andrei Yurash, though he claimed that “everyone is tracking general trends and an approximate number.”
At the same time, everyone seems to refer to an interactive map of transitions maintained by the Religious Information Service of Ukraine (RISU), though the site director Taras Antonshevsky has admitted that there were several cases where incorrect information was added to the map. Map developer Dmitry Gorevoy told explained that the map is updated based on information from local media and social networks.
Moreover, Archpriest Alexander Bakhov, the head of the canonical Church’s legal department, earlier revealed that those parishes that were transferred were registered not to the new church, but to the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate,” which joined the new structure but continues to legally exist. The new church has since been officially registered, but with the same legal name as the canonical Church.
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