Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Ukraine passes bill banning church

On Thursday, the Ukrainian parliament approved a law banning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The government commission ruled that the UOC is still canonically linked to the Russian Orthodox Church, despite the fact that it announced in May 2022 that it had severed ties with it. Representatives of the UOC claim that the bill contradicts the Constitution.

MP Yaroslav Zheleznyak said in Telegram that MPs had voted in favour of passing the bill in the first reading. Now the bill has to be supported in the second reading and then approved by the president. The bill itself, if it takes effect, would prevent the UOC from using historic church property.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has appealed to the Orthodox and other churches to stop Ukraine’s actions before the bill enters into force. Kirill addressed UN Secretary-General António Guterres and other figures:

“I ask you to take all measures to prevent the continuation of the mass infringements of religious rights of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”

The UOC said the draft law, one of several similar bills registered in parliament, does not comply with either the European Convention on Human Rights or the Ukrainian constitution.

Analyst Volodymyr Fesenko believes that the ban on the UOC may be challenged in Ukraine and in the European Court of Human Rights.

The Independent Orthodox Church was founded in Ukraine shortly after the collapse of the USSR. The world Orthodox hierarchy officially recognised it only in 2018.

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