Ukrainian politicians still resisting changes in churches


by Olga Tsvilii

Union of Orthodox Journalists, 3 January 2019

The rights of believers are basic rights guaranteed by the Ukrainian constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, Vadim Novinskii recalled.


If Ukrainian courts, by their decision, legalize the seizure of the Holy Dormition Kiev caves lavra and the Pochaev lavra and other shrines of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Opposition Bloc political party will turn to the European Court of Human Rights, people's deputy Vadim Novinskii wrote on Facebook.


He recalled that believers' rights belong to the basic rights that are enshrined in the constitution of Ukraine and the European Convention on Human Rights.


The Ukrainian people's deputy noted that the Ukrainian authorities "are working for the destruction of the only canonical Orthodox confession in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," and he appealed to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on this matter.


"Mr. Poroshenko! Is not the hostile takeover of two Orthodox shrines—the Kiev caves and Pochaev lavras—too high a price to pay to stay in power? You can write accounts of how many church buildings and parishes have transferred into the 'church' you artificially created and thereby cover up the collapse of the economy. Perhaps the time has come to deal with your direct responsibilities and not interfere in church affairs?" Novinskii wrote.


The people's deputy suggested to his colleagues to vote for the moratorium initiated by the Opposition Bloc party on changes of the confessional affiliation of church buildings until the end of 2019.


"Esteemed colleagues, deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine! If today we allow throwing Ukraine into the abyss of the artificially created intra-Orthodox conflict, then we will no longer have the right to call ourselves a parliament," the politician emphasized.


Novinskii also asked the embassies and diplomatic missions of foreign states and international organizations to do everything possible on the level of influence upon the government in Ukraine so as not to permit the outbreak of the flames of religious conflict in the very center of Europe.


"We will defend our Orthodox shrines by every legal means. But today we are talking not only about the property of one confession. Observance of basic human rights distinguishes a civilized state from a medieval one and therefore we are talking today about the future of Ukraine as a democratic state," the people's deputy concluded.


We recall that Ukrainian news media have reported that the administration of the president ordered the preparation of lawsuits for termination of the leases by UPTs societies in the Kiev caves and Pochaev lavras. "With regard to this delicate matter, it is necessary to do everything in secret in order not to get a negative public response in advance. Also, since 26 December the Department for Affairs of Religions and Nationalities has been preparing briefings of commissioners in the regions for organizing statistics of transfers into the Orthodox Church of Ukraine," journalists reported. (tr. by PDS, posted 3 January 2019)

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