UOC priests will also be prohibited from carrying out chaplaincy ministries.
Kiev, December 20, 2018
Ukrainian Deputies voted 240-31 today to force the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church to legally change its name, reports Interfax.
The bill was placed on today’s agenda by Rada Speaker Andrei Paruby at the specific request of the schismatic leader Philaret Denisenko, as OrthoChristian previously reported. The debate over the government’s interference in Church life led to a massive fight in the parliamentary hall.
Bill no. 5309, “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine ‘On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations’ as Regards the Names of Religious Organizations (Associations) Which are a Part of the Structure of a Religious Organization (Association), Whose Administrative Center is outside Ukraine—in the State Which, as Recognized by the Law, Committed Military Aggression against Ukraine and/or Temporarily Occupied a Part of the Territory of Ukraine,” was passed with shouts of “Glory to Ukraine!” reports the Kiev-based Union of Orthodox Journalists.
The bill provides that a religious organization that is part of a structure centered in another state that has committed military aggression against Ukraine must display this in its name. The name must fully include the name of the structure to which the organization belongs, with the permissible addition of “in Ukraine.” Ukraine officially considers Russia an “aggressor state,” and thus the Ukrainian Church is to be renamed the “Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.”
The bill comes into effect from the moment of its publication, allowing 4 months for any such structure to provide the necessary information for re-registration. Though the law is written generally, it is known that the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the only religious group in the nation that falls under the conditions of the bill.
The transitional laws of the law also say that priests and religious teachers from organizations covered by the law will have restricted access to military units, thus prohibiting them from carrying out chaplaincy ministries.
As has been recognized by both the Ukrainian Church and some within the Rada, the forced name change is merely a pretext to the seizing of churches and property from the canonical Ukrainian Church.
“The Rada adopted an absolutely raiding law on the seizure of churches,” Yuri Boiko, a deputy from the Opposition Bloc, explained to Ukrainian station NEWSONE. “And that became the catalyst for aggression in the hall,” he explained.
A massive fight broke out between deputies on opposite sides of the vote after the draft law was officially adopted, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
More than 1,000 representatives of the clergy and faithful of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church gathered to pray this morning outside the Verkhovna Rada building.
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