Moscow, February 8, 2017
The attempts of the current Ukrainian authorities to create a single Local Ukrainian Orthodox Church do not find support from the overall population which believes that the “rhetoric of hatred” towards the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate can become “a factor of destabilization in the social-political situation.” These results from human rights monitoring in Ukraine have been published on the site of the Moscow Patriarchate.
“Monitoring of the observance of constitutional human rights in Ukraine in 2016” was commissioned by an inter-factional deputy alliance of the Ukrainian parliament. According to the results of the opinion poll, 32% of respondents agreed that a single Local Church is not needed because it would limit citizens’ rights to choose their confession. 24% were against this sentiment, while 44% were undecided. The notion that the authorities and politicians should not interfere in Church matters was met with approval by 36% of respondents, and disapproval from 19%, with 46% undecided.
The report also notes a negative trend of government interference in the realm of inter-confessional relations, relations between the state and religious organizations and the guarantee of believers’ rights, stemming from their active attempt to create a single Church (although the Ukrainian constitution proclaims the separation of Church and state).
The seizure of Moscow Patriarchate churches and the beating of believers and clergy is prevalent, especially in Western Ukraine, often with the support of deputies and para-military forces, the report states. “The hate speech widely used in seizing worship sites of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, bearing a propagandistic character, can become a factor of destabilization in the social-political situation,” the document reads.
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has said that creating a single autocephalous Ukrainian Church would not limit the freedom of believers and would not change the principles of interaction between authorities and religious organizations.
Ukraine currently as three “Orthodox Churches:” the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, and the schismatic and uncanonical “Kievan Patriarchate” and “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.”