Kiev, April 1, 2021
Ukrainian Orthodox faithful carrying the signatures to President Zelensky in Kiev. Photo: strana.ua
Representatives of parish communities of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church that have been affected by the seizures of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” and the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” arrived in Kiev today to deliver a letter to President Vladimir Zelensky.
The letter of appeal, pleading with the head of state to stop the persecution against the Church, is signed by 1,063,234 suffering Orthodox faithful, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
The letter begins by drawing the attention of the President, the guarantor of the observance of the Ukrainian constitution, to the multiple anti-Church laws that violate the constitutional rights of the Orthodox, including the law that dictates the forcible renaming of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the “Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.”
These laws “contradict the constitutional principle of the separation of the state from the Church” and the constitutional provision that excludes the possibility of establishing special requirements for the name of religious organizations, the appeal states. Moreover, the Ministry of Culture has applied them exclusively against the canonical Ukrainian Church.
Thus, parish communities of the UOC are under constant pressure from both state authorities and violent raiders, and have been deprived of the ability to make changes to constituent documents, change leadership, open bank accounts, use notarial services, register rights to land plots under churches, and so on, the faithful tell their president.
Thus, hostility and confrontations have increased, and the level of religious freedom is rapidly deteriorating in Ukraine.
“The Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its faithful have repeatedly appealed to you with a request to remove the anti-Church regulations from these laws… We consider it unacceptable for the guarantor of the observance of the constitution of Ukraine and the rights and freedoms of man and citizen to neglect the interests of his voters, the multi-million Orthodox society,” the appeal reads.
Thus, the many faithful ask President Zelensky to exercise his constitutional right of legislative initiative and submit urgent bills on the recognition of the given amendments as invalid.
The appeal ends by requesting that a response be sent to the office of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry at the Kiev Cave Lavra.
Meanwhile, the canonical Church served a moleben for peace on St. Vladimir Hill in Kiev today.
In June 2018, 300,000 signatures from one Ukrainian diocese were sent to Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople in defense of the Orthodox Church, but the Patriarch ignored them and pressed ahead with his assault on the Ukrainian Church.
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