Head of AUCCRO calls to delay the implementation of the law on renaming UOC
Jacob Bleich believes that with the adoption of Law No. 5309, no religion in Ukraine can feel protected from state interference.
Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, Chief Rabbi of Ukraine Yakov Dov Bleich called the law obliging the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to change its name anti-constitutional and said that he would ask the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and the Verkhovna Rada to delay its implementation.
According to the spiritual leader of the Jewish community, who has been holding the position of chairman of the AUCCRO since July 2018, by adopting the anti-church bill, MPs crossed all borders, "playing religion according to political rules".
“The State wants to decide for the Church how to name it,” Jacob Bleich expressed his position in an interview with “Glavkom”. “<...> We cannot exclude 20-25% of the population of Ukraine and say that if you are believers of this Church, you are second-rate citizens. These people are also Ukrainians, they live in Ukraine and believe in God.”
He stressed that such decisions of the State could later affect any other religious organizations in Ukraine.
“The decision made by the Verkhovna Rada means that no religion can feel protected from state interference in Ukraine,” the chairman of the AUCCRO noted. “Today it is the Moscow Patriarchate, and tomorrow is Islam, Jews, etc. That is, if the State does not like you, it can interfere because the State indicates how to believe in God.”
According to Bleich, he was absolutely sure that the President would not sign this law since it contradicts the Constitution of Ukraine and has negative consequences for a large part of the population.
“It seems to me that the Constitutional Court will declare the law unconstitutional, because it is clearly against the Constitution of Ukraine, by 100%. International organizations, even those that support Ukraine, have already made statements that this is wrong and what happened in parliament is a provocation. <...> I will ask the President, the Verkhovna Rada to wait for the implementation of this law while the Constitutional Court is studying it,” resumed the chairman of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches.
As the UOJ reported, on December 22, 2018, Petro Poroshenko signed anti-church bill No. 5309, which obliges the UOC to change its name. According to the head of the Legal Department of the UOC, Protopriest Alexander Bachov, any attempts by state authorities to force the religious association (Church) to change its name are illegal and violate international law.