Kiev, April 19, 2019
Although the outgoing Ukrainian government is continuing its practice of actively persecuting the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the seized churches will be returned to the Church and the radicals who seize them will be brought to justice, People’s Deputy Vadim Novinsky of the Opposition Bloc is sure.
The practice of physically seizing churches, with falsified re-registered church statutes, continues especially in the western Ukraine, Novinsky noted in recent televised comments.
He also noted the many cases where the seizures and persecution of the clergy and faithful, including physical attacks, have been facilitated by the local authorities and the inaction of the police, who are often on the scene of the seizures, idly watching.
In addition to the physical attacks on the faithful of the canonical Church, “The families of priests who resist this lawlessness are harassed. All of this is done with the full assistance of the governors of the western provinces, firstly in the Rivne and Volyn Provinces, with the help of the local regional administrations and rural heads. All the appeals of the faithful to law enforcement agencies go unheeded.”
Deputy Novinsky urged all representatives of the local authorities to observe the laws of Ukraine and interconfessional peace: “I want to warn everyone… that all those who violate the laws of Ukraine will be held liable in accordance with Ukrainian legislation.”
“I guarantee it!” Novinsky added.
“And the churches that were seized illegally will be returned to their lawful owner—the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. I want to warn everyone not to violate the law to please the outgoing president, but to act in accordance with the law and try to preserve inter-religious peace,” Novinsky continued.
There are nearly daily reports from western Ukraine about the seizure of new churches by schismatic-nationalist activists. The Rivne Diocese of the canonical Church recently reported about 60 cases of seizures just within its territory.
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