New anti-Church bill introduced into Ukrainian Parliament

Kiev, October 31, 2016

The chief goal of bill no. 5309 is the creation of
discriminatory norms for millions of Ukrainian citizens
who belong to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church
(UOC-MP), said the chairman of the Synodal Legal
Department Archpriest Alexander Bakhov,
commenting
on the new legislative initiative of the
elected representatives of the people to the
UOC-MP’s Information and Education Department.

On October 26 the Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian
Parliament) registered bill no. 5309 “On Amendments
to the Law of Ukraine ‘On Freedom of Conscience and
Religious Organizations’ as Regards the Names of
Religious Organizations (Associations) Which are a Part of
the Structure of a Religious Organization (Association),
Whose Administrative Center is outside Ukraine—in
the State Which, as Recognized by the Law, Committed
Military Aggression against Ukraine and/or Temporarily
Occupied a Part of the Territory of Ukraine,”
reports the
Orthodox Life
portal.

The draft law’s initiators, Deputies Igor Brichenko,
Alexander Briginets, Ivan Krulko, Yaroslav Markevich,
Sergey Vysotskiy and Igor Lapin, have motioned to compel
the religious organization, whose administrative center is
in the state that has been recognized by Ukraine as an
aggressor state, to indicate in its name the full
statutory name of the foreign religious organization to
which it belongs, with the possible addition of the words
“in Ukraine” and/or an indication of its place
in the structure of the foreign religious organization.

In the view of Archpriest Alexander Bakhov, “this is
another absurd bill through which its authors are
endeavoring to discriminate against the UOC-MP and the
faithful of our Church”.

“The deputies constantly forget that all the
religious organizations are equal before the law, and
restrictions such as these are, first of all,
infringements of the rights and freedoms of the Ukrainian
citizens who are members of the religious organization
against which such initiatives are aimed,” the
archpriest stressed.

“Yes, the state has recognized an aggressor country.
But what does this have to do with the UOC-MP? They think
the center of our Church is in Moscow, but it’s not.
Our center is in Kiev. According to the Charter (Tomos),
signed by Patriarch Alexey II in 1990, the canonical
Ukrainian Orthodox Church has nearly full administrative
independence from the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate.
They take their wish for reality and deprive the UOC-MP of
its independence, subordinating it to the ROC? And what is
then to be done with the Tomos of 1990?” Archpriest
Alexander Bakhov noted.

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