Poroshenko signs second anti-Church bill into law

Kiev, January 29, 2019

Photo: spzh.news Photo: spzh.news

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, called a modern persecutor of the Church, signed draft law No. 4128 on the change of jurisdiction for religious communities yesterday, January 28, reports the official site of the President of Ukraine.

This is the second anti-Church bill passed by the Ukrainian Parliament and signed by Poroshenko that facilitates the seizure of parishes from the canonical Ukrainian Church. Bill No. 4128 was passed by the Verkhovna Rada on January 17. It previously adopted bill No. 5309 on the renaming of religious institutions centered in “aggressor countries,” which was signed into law by Poroshenko on December 22. The Ukrainian Church has continually warned that these two bills together are aimed at the seizure of its churches.

The document defines the mechanisms by which a community can change its jurisdiction with religious centers in Ukraine and abroad. The law came into force from the date of its publication.

Despite the separation of church and state being inscribed in the Ukrainian constitution, the present law dictates how a parish can decide its jurisdictional affiliation—by a vote of no less than 2/3 at a general assembly. The list of documents needed to legally reregister a parish is also defined by the new law.

Interestingly, the law also establishes that a religious organization changing its jurisdiction must report the decision to the central executive body implementing state policy in the field of religion and notes that communities in Crimea must therefore report to the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

Commenting on the bill as adopted by the Rada, the head of the Ukrainian Church’s legal department Archpriest Alexander Bakhov noted in particular that “under the pretext of facilitating changes in affiliation and allegedly improving the procedure for registering the charters of a religious communities, the People’s Deputies are trying to introduce a mass re-registration of the charters of all religious organizations in Ukraine.”

“As we can see, the attempt to propose a mechanism for changing affiliation has turned into excessive administration and a complication of the procedure for registering the charters of religious organizations,” Fr. Alexander emphasized.

Fr. Alexander previously said that the bill “is aimed exclusively at the liquidation of the UOC through the raider seizure of its property.” The schismatic and nationalist-terrorist tactic of sending fake community members to vote to transfer a community now has legal backing, as Fr. Alexander explains.

“They need this law to seize our churches,” Vasily Anisimov, the head of the Ukrainian Church’s press service, explained. “They aren’t creating their own churches, they’re trying to steal ours,” he said.

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