ROC expects authorities not to drive believers into OCU after elections
The ROC has called on the Ukrainian authorities to change its attitude toward members of the canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine and not force them to join the OCU.
The Russian Orthodox Church hopes that the Ukrainian authorities Ukrainian will respect human rights and believers of all religious denominations will have the right to go to their own churches, said Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, on March 26, as reported by “Interfax”.
"We expect the Ukrainian authorities to deliver on their promises, which have been voiced repeatedly, that believers of all religious denominations will have the right to go to their own churches, to their own places of worship, and that they will not be forced into some new institution forcibly established by the state, as is, unfortunately, happening at present. This is our main request to the incumbent authorities and for those to come in Ukraine following the elections," stressed the hierarch.
According to the metropolitan, the Russian Orthodox Church calls for the observance of human rights in Ukraine.
"What is happening in Ukraine now, as the largest religious denomination in Ukraine has in fact been outlawed and the state is demanding that it change its name against its will, is a glaring and unheard-of violation of human rights. We do hope that this lawlessness will be stopped," he said.
A majority of Orthodox believers in Ukraine remain faithful to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, "the canonical Church, whose name some are trying to take away from it and whose churches are being taken away," Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk stressed.
"Not a single local church has supported the lawless legalization of a schism under President Poroshenko's decree with the support of the Patriarch of Constantinople, which in itself shows very eloquently that a lawless deed has been committed and that this mistake needs to be corrected," he concluded.
As reported by the UOJ, in the UN Report “Civil Space and Basic Freedoms Ahead of Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Elections in Ukraine”, it was noted that the political situation in the country contributes to the aggravation of inter-faith conflicts and is accompanied by a violation of basic human rights, including freedom of religion. The UN states that freedom of religion and belief is violated in Ukraine, the Tomos sharpened the contradictions between the Orthodox, and the UOC became a target for discrimination.