Metropolitan Onufry meets with the Netherlands Ambassador to Ukraine
As noted at the meeting, any forcible seizures of temples and pressure on believers are absolutely unacceptable and contrary to the laws of Ukraine and the EU.
On March 26, 2019, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine met with the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Ukraine Edward Hooks at his residence in the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. The meeting was also attended by the deputy head of the UOC Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich and a member of the Department, Fr. Sergey Shulgach, reports the press service of the UOC Department for External Church Relations.
During the meeting, the current situation in church-state and interfaith relations in Ukraine was discussed.
The Ambassador of the Netherlands was interested in the issue of renaming the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, numerous cases of seizure of churches and other violations of the rights of believers. It was noted that the principles of religious freedom must be inviolable since politics and religion must be separated, and all believers must have the freedom to pray in the Church which they belong to.
It is noted that the participants of the meeting expressed a common conviction: it is impossible to force people to join another denomination, and any forcible seizure of church buildings and pressure on believers, or enforced name change are absolutely unacceptable because all this contradicts the laws of Ukraine and the European Union.
As the UOJ reported, in connection with numerous cases of human rights violations and the threat of escalation of religious conflicts, the head of the UOC Representative Office to European International Organizations Bishop Victor of Baryshevka appealed to officials of the UN, OSCE, EU and other countries to influence the situation in Ukraine.