Kiev, January 17, 2023
On January 13, a petition was posted on the site of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, calling on the state not to ban the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, but to protect the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens who are members of the Church.
The petition recalls:
On December 1, 2022, the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky announced in his evening video message that the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine instructed the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to introduce a bill for consideration by the Verkhovna Rada that would make it impossible for religious organizations affiliated with centers of influence in the aggressor country to operate in Ukraine.
That is, it’s implied that if the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is such a religious organization, then with the help of the new legislative framework, its activities in Ukraine will be banned.
The President noted that this is being done so that no one can manipulate Ukrainians and weaken Ukraine from within.
However, the petition emphasizes that the faithful of the UOC who will sign it are patriotic Ukrainians who have never worked for the interests of any other state, who condemn the war and any changes to Ukrainian borders, and who are grieved by any legitimate cases of Ukrainians cooperating with Russian authorities.
But individual cases of collaborationism can’t be attributed to the Church as a whole as a pretext for banning it, the petition states.
The faithful of the UOC fight in and support the Ukrainian Armed Forces and therefore the Church doesn’t deserve to be called “collaborators” and “FSB agents.”
“We note with sadness that such an attitude only leads to significant demoralization of the part of society that is the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and in fact may serve the hidden interests of the Russian Federation in terms of destabilization and separation of Ukrainians in conditions of war,” the petition continues.
In conclusion, the petitions calls on the state to resolve the Church issue through dialogue and the protection of constitutional rights, and not to apply any individual crimes to the UOC as a whole.
As of January 17, 4,475 people have signed the petition. It needs to receive 25,000 signatures to be officially considered by the state. Those living in Ukraine must register here to sign the petition.