Kiev, July 23, 2019
There is hope within the Ukrainian Church that a new law promulgated by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky will improve the situation for its parishes, hundreds of which have been seized by force or illegally re-registered to the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
The newly-signed decree, “On Measures to Counter Raiding,” “contains a set of tools that will be implemented to protect business owners and counter the deprivation of their property rights in the near future,” reports the official site of the President of Ukraine.
There have been more than 3,000 corporate raids over the past 6 years, Deputy Head of the Office of the President Oleksiy Goncharuk said. “Usually this is a change of ownership because of forgery of documents, registrants who do not exist, or ‘holes’ in the registry. Schemes are different, but the essence is one. Today's decision is a real step to end this.”
Following the decree, legislation should be developed and adopted that will remove disadvantages in legislation that allows for raider seizures, including making necessary changes to the software used by state registries.
Responding to the new law, Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, the Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Church’s Department for External Church Relations, writes: “Very well, perhaps raiding will stop in the Church sphere as well, from which our Ukrainian Orthodox Church suffers so much, from which churches are taken by raiding.”
Archpriest Alexander Bakhov, chairman of the Ukrainian Church’s legal department, earlier stated that 85 churches have been forcefully seized and another 222 have been taken by raider illegal re-registration.
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