U.P.Ts.M.P. AWAITS PRESIDENT'S RESPONSE AND THREATENS "DESTABILIZATION IN SOCIETY"
RISU, 8 April 2021
The government still has not reacted to the cartons with signatures against the renaming of the UPTsMP [Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate], which members of this confession brought to the president's office on 1 April. This was reported by the chancellor of the UPTsMP, Metropolitan Antony Pakanich, during a press conference on 8 April/
"If there is no response, then it probably will be necessary to seek a different form of seeking justice," he emphasized and he threatened: "Unconstitutional laws against the UPTs must lead to destabilization within society."
To the direct question "whether the church is prepared for peaceful resistance if the government begins a new wave of persecutions against the UPTs," Pakanich responded affirmatively. "The social doctrine of our church gives us such a possibility."
As RISU has reported, the UPTsMP has maintained that it collected 1,060,238 signatures against the renaming of the UPTsMP as the "Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine," in appeals to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, the cabinet of ministers, and other institutions of government.
On 20 December 2018, the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet adopted draft law No. 5309, which proposes to insert changes into the relevant law "On freedom of conscience and religious organizations." The draft law provides that a religious organization whose center is located in an aggressor country must indicate in its name the full legal name of its religious center. On 22 December 2018, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed the corresponding law.
This law has provoked outrage on the part of
the Russian Orthodox Church, the UPTsMP, and several pro-Russian
politicians. Law No. 5309 has still not taken effect. (tr. by PDS,
posted 8 April 2021)
APPEAL FROM U.P.Ts.M.P. ABOUT REFUSAL TO CHANGE NAME REGISTERED IN PRESIDENT'S OFFICE
RISU, 1 April 2021
The UPTsMP [Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate] affirms that it collected 1,060,238 signatures under an appeal to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, the cabinet of ministers, and other institutions of government, which about 100 Orthodox Ukrainians from various dioceses of the UPTs personally brought and delivered to the office of the president on 1 April 2021. This was reported by the Department of Information and Enlightenment of the UPTs.
First of all, the clergy of the UPTsMP performed a prayer service on Vladimir's Hill.
After group prayer, representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church went to the president's office.
The believers were met by the chief consultant of the Reception of the President of Ukraine of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Igor Bakitovich Akhmetov, who accepted the documents. The appeal was registered under number 22/16975-26.
"We believe and we hope that our voices will be heard," Archpriest Vasily Nachev, a cleric of the Rovno diocese of the UPTs, said. "It is possible that the president of Ukraine does not know this situation; possibly all information doesn't reach him." (tr. by PDS, posted 8 April 2021)
APPEAL OF BELIEVERS OF CANONICAL CHURCH DELIVERED TO OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
Moscow Patriarchate, 1 April 2021
On 1 April 2021, representatives of the victims of raiding actions by the PTsU and the Kiev patriarchate from various dioceses of the canonical church, including Volyn, Zhitomir, Rovno, and Sarnensk dioceses, arrived in Kiev. They brought several hefty cartons with signatures to the office of the head of state.
Before that, the believers assembled on Vladimir hill for a prayer service for peace in the Ukrainian land.
In the appeal, laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church urge V.A. Zelensky to use his constitutional right of legislative initiative in the Supreme Soviet and to introduce into the Ukrainian parliament, for urgent consideration, draft laws to recognize changes established by the Ukrainian laws No. 2673-VIII and No. 2662-VIII to be invalid.
It is noted that these laws violate the rights of believers and contradict the constitutional principle of the separation of state from church. The appeal emphasizes: "In recent years the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture has applied these anticonstitutional laws exclusively against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and has forcibly tried to deprive it of its own proper name. Officials violate the principle of the equality of all religious confessions and they restrict the rights of our religious organization, among others, which is discrimination on the basis of religion of millions of believing citizens who belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Governmental agencies, interfering in the internal affairs of the church, impose their own understanding of its religious and hierarchical structure. They violate the provisions of the Ukrainian constitution, which rule out the possibility of establishing special requirements in the name of individual religious organizations and regulate the right of each person to profess any religion. Because of this, religious parishes of the UPTs are under constant pressure between agencies of state power and raiders and they have deprived us of the possibility of making changes in charter documents, of changing leaders, of opening accounts in banking institutions, of using notarizing services, and of registering the right to land for church structures, and the like."
The believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church who signed the appeal to the Ukrainian president concluded: "The use of anticonstitutional laws by church raiders leads to daily destabilization of the religious situation within society, a worsening of the level of freedom of religious confession in Ukraine, and the creation of substantial hindrances for spiritual and social ministry by the church and religious organizations."
They also recall that laws on compulsory change of name and jurisdiction do not comport with either the constitution of Ukraine or the standards of existing international law. "Compulsory reregistration and change of name and subordination in canonical issues of religious organizations (associations) are a direct interference with freedom of religious confession," the appeal notes. "The right to the autonomy of religious organizations is guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and is reflected in numerous decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. A religious organization has the right to select independently its own name and the government does not have the right to force it to change."
"It should be noted that Ukrainian law No. 2673-VIII and No. 2662-VIII violate constitutional rights and liberties of Ukrainian citizens and they carry a threat to peace and harmony in our state. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church and its believers have often reached out to you with a request to eliminate anti-church norms from the aforesaid laws, but other than a run-around there has been no response to them. We consider it impermissible for the guarantor of the observance of the Ukrainian constitution and the rights and liberties of persons and citizens to neglect the interests of his constituents, the multimillion Orthodox community," the message delivered to the office of the head of state says.
The appeal "with regard to exercising the constitutional right of legislative initiative in the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet for the purpose of defending the rights of persons (laity) who are believers of the UPTs" was accepted in the office of the president and registered under number 22/016975-26.
Earlier on the same day there was a press conference in Kiev on the topic "Appeal of UPTs believers to the government: discriminatory laws and restrictions," during which the head of the synod's Department of Information and Enlightenment of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan of Nezhin and Preluksk Kliment emphasized: "These more than a million signatures that you see today are really a small portion of the representation of those citizens who are the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and live throughout the territory of our Ukraine. Of course, there are many more representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. They are legal citizens and people who select this government. Therefore it should listen to them and listen to their legal demands."
Metropolitan Kliment said that as of today about a dozen draft laws have been submitted to the Supreme Soviet that one way or another violate rights of believers of Ukraine and contradict the basic law of the country, the constitution. (tr. by PDS, posted 8 April 2021)
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