Kiev, November 23, 2022
Another draft law was registered yesterday for consideration by the Verkhovna Rada—Ukrainian Parliament—calling for a complete ban on all activities of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The bill was introduced by deputies of the European Solidarity Party, referring to the UOC as the “Russian Orthodox Church on the territory of Ukraine,” despite the fact that the UOC removed all connection to the Russian Church from its statutes at its Council in May.
“This law also provides for a complete ban on any religious organizations and institutions that are part of or recognize in any form subordination in canonical, organizational, and other matters to the Russian Orthodox Church,” the European Solidarity Party reports.
Similar bills have been submitted to the Rada for years now, though they have so far proved unsuccessful. Two separate bills aimed at the dissolution of the UOC were registered by the Verkhovna Rada in March.
According to the submitting party, “for too long the Russian Orthodox Church has been conducting outright anti-Ukrainian and sabotage activities and advocating all the actions of the criminal Russian regime.” However, despite repeated accusations, no evidence of the UOC conducting any anti-Ukrainian activity has been found.
His Eminence Metropolitan Kliment of Nizhyn, head of the UOC’s Information-Education Department, notes that no formal accusations have been made as a result of the Ukrainian Security Service’s “counterintelligence” activities carried out at several UOC monasteries yesterday.
Further, Orthodox activity in Ukraine should be dictated by the “tomos of autocephaly” granted to the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the European Solidarity Party writes.
At the same time, local authorities continue to declare bans on the Ukrainian Church, most recently in the city of Gorodische, Cherkasy Province, despite the fact that such bans clearly have no legal justification or force. In fact, the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture declared back in June that the Gorodische Council has no right to ban the Church.
And following the recent incident in which a group of female parishioners sang a song about the spiritual rebirth of Holy Rus’ in one of the churches of the Kiev Caves Lavra, more Ukrainian deputies are calling for the Church to be kicked out of the Lavra.
Andrei Bogdanets of the Servant of the People Party submitted a bill to transfer the Lavra to the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” saying: “Pro-Russian priests have no place in Ukrainian holy sites.” The same call has come from Alexei Goncharenko of the European Solidarity Party.