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Today I've seen the link to an article on Ukrainian religious situation in Facebook. It seemed as quite comprehensive for me. Of course, external dificulties are not as essential for the faithful as the internal/spiritual ones. Nevertheless the social climate is an important thing. That's why I decided to share that article with you.
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On religious freedom in the "European" Ukraine


Recently, amid scandalous resignations of several Ukrainian Government members and the lack of any progress in the fight against corruption, relations between Kyiv and the EU took a significant nose-dive. But in addition to socio-economic issues one should not forget about the protection of human rights and democratic values. For example, even the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is concerned over violations of religious freedom in Ukraine. In particular, representatives of the schismatic Kyivan "Patriarchate" supported by the nationalists and the local authorities illegally seizure temples of Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate, UOC-MP) with increasing frequency.

 Referring to the one-sided or even false messages of such Ukrainian media as the TV channel "1+1", the opponents of the canonical Orthodox Church always profess that believers convert to the "Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate" (UOC-KP) voluntary. The "Religious Information Service of Ukraine" website even has a map of such "convertions": 28 parishes marked as a change of jurisdiction, 32 – as divided ones. In a number of cases there are reports (just like a status reports from the battlefield) saying that "on this day UOC-KP believers took the temple." It is such a grudging term that was used to cover the illegal seizure of religious buildings in the villages Uhryniv (Volyn region), Badovka and Pticha (Rivne region), Katerinovka (Ternopil region).

 The Kyivan "Patriarchate" supporters often state that the main reason for the change of jurisdiction is "unpatriotic nature" of the UOC-MP. Indeed, in contrast to the schismatics, nobody says "He helped the Ukrainian Insurgent Army" while giving you a holy icon of St. Amphilochius of Pochaev in a church of the Moscow. They do not use the names of men of faith for political purposes, misrepresenting them as almost nationalists. The canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine continues the apostolic preaching of Christ and distance themselves from the dubious policy of the current country's neo-fascist leaders. That is why alternate services proposed as a compromise in the dispute over church property appears to be unacceptable for the UOC-MP.

 In addition, a lot of examples of the pro-Filaret schismatics' perfidy are evident for the faithful. For example, as soon as "UOC-KP" members were allowed to serve in the temple of Katerinovka village (Ternopil region) in turns with UOC-MP community to avoid hostility, they simply occupied the church building. Then, on September 21, 2015 the faithful of the canonical Orthodox Church who came for feast's prayer were brutally beaten by the "Right sector" fighters and the so-called MIA volunteer battalion "Ternopil-2"! At the same time, law enforcement officials took no action to stop the massacre and to restore order.

 Meanwhile, the Kyivan "Patriarchate" refers to the participation of nonresident nationalists in the seizures of the churches as "an assistance in avoiding provocations". What does this really mean, you can see with your own eyes in these videos:

 Turka, Lviv region, 10/05/2014

 Stinka, Ternopil region, 03/22/2015

 Katerinovka, Ternopil region, 09/21/2015

 Zaluhov, Volyn region, 11/14/2015

 Pticha, Rivne region, 12/18/2015


It is worth noting that the schismatics often appeal to certain believers' petitions in favor of changing community's jurisdiction to the "UOC-KP". But "credibility" of such documents is well illustrated by the example of the Novostav village (Ternopil region). In the spring of 2014, there were 575 signatures collected for both denominations in the village, although the total number of adult faithful inhabitants was only 382!

 Moreover, with reference to their "majority", ones who want to convert to the "UOC-KP" are trying by hook or by crook to change the jurisdiction of the whole community in order to retain the right to use its temple. It stands to reason that such an imposing of their will on those who remain committed to their Church contradicts the national legislation, according to which everyone has the right to choose freely their religious affiliation! Probably, this is the reason why some members of the country's parliament are trying to change the law concerning the religious freedom and to legalize majority-based transition of the faith community from one jurisdiction to another in spite of the Constitution of Ukraine and in violation of the international human rights law.

 Now, due to the politicization of the issue and the government-led russophobic campaign, Kyivan "Patriarchate" enjoys considerable lobbying power among local officials. For example, on September 4, 2015 the council of the Bashuki village (Ternopil region) took the decision to move the parish from the UOC-MP to the "UOC-KP" jurisdiction so as to a believers' complaint over the capture of the Archangel Michael temple by the schismatics and the "Right sector" rebels would not be heard in the court. However, on November 24, 2015 the Ternopil Court of Appeal ruled the decision of the village council as illegal. The courts sided with the canonical Church in disputes over the churches in the villages Gribovitsa (Volyn region), Kolosova (Ternopil region), Pticha (Rivne region) and others.

 However, the compilers of the map of the "voluntary transitions" to the Filaret jurisdiction are silent about the such judicial decisions. As well as about the numerous facts of vandalism, arson of churches, threatening and attacks on the UOC-MP priests (for example, the one in the Kazatin town of Vinnitsa region)...

 Let the Europeans decide whether the situation with freedom of speech and religion in Ukraine meet EU standards, but at least the Christian values and conventional norms of the social life are violated for sure!



Last update on March 19, 10:28 am by Nadia Bazuk.

I was led to believe maybe half of Ukrainians profess no religion at all. I wonder whether the dispute is between actual churchgoers or folks who don't pray in the first place.

"Tact: the ability to describe others as they see themselves." (Abraham Lincoln)

I'm afraid for the Filaret it's merely a matter of number of people who associate themselves with the "Kyivan Patriarchate"...

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