Vinnitsa Eparchy comments on TSN spot in support of Saletsky
Journalists of the TV channel misinterpret the law, manipulate the name of the Church and make a number of inaccuracies, noted in the eparchy.
The press service of the Vinnitsa Eparchy of the UOC commented on the TSN spot “A police and religious detective in the Vinnitsa region: The roof for the Moscow Church” broadcast on November 3, 2019. Official explanations on the story about the “troubles” of Igor Saletsky, head of the Department for Religions and Nationalities of the Vinnitsa Regional State Administration, were published on the eparchy’s website.
The eparchy noted that the TV spot presented the official as a law-abiding citizen who faithfully performs his duties. For this, the local police allegedly exert pressure on him. At the same time, the TSN journalists are sure that law enforcers have taken the side of the UOC in the interfaith dispute.
The press service of the eparchy drew public attention to the fact that the TSN spot misinterpreted the laws of Ukraine. TSN reporters were reminded that the decision to change the affiliation of a religious community can be made exclusively by its members but not by the participants of the territorial community meeting. Lists of members of religious communities are kept by the Department for Religions and Nationalities, and therefore Saletsky could well have verified whether he had the right to take the protocols of certain meetings for consideration, the authors added.
“Admission to consideration of protocols of territorial community meetings that are not authorized to make decisions on changing the subordination of religious communities is none other than arbitrariness. So, the claims that formed the basis of court cases against the official are quite fair,” the press service resumed.
The eparch also asked why the “diligent civil servant” has not yet conducted state registration of Metropolitan Varsonofy (Stoliar) of Vinnitsa and Bar as the head of the Vinnitsa Eparchy of the UOC. Since December 2018, Bishop Varsonofy has repeatedly addressed this issue to the state registrar, but each time he was refused. Even after the court’s decision, which ordered Saletsky to register Metropolitan Varsonofy, the official still hasn’t done this, the press service recalled.
Such actions, as well as a systematic violation of the law, suggest that Saletsky does not work in the interests of Ukraine but in the interests of the Vinnitsa-Bar Eparchy of the OCU, the press service noted.
The authors of the clarification also drew attention to the fact of the manipulation of the name of the Church.
“Once again, we remind both officials and journalists of the official name ‘Ukrainian Orthodox Church’, under which our Church is registered in the Unified State Register of Legal Entities,” they emphasized. “No ‘Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine’ exists either in the state register or in Ukraine, or in general in nature. Actually, both officials and journalists are well aware of this, but, unfortunately, they prefer lies and manipulation.”
Another example of manipulation is the constant talk about nonexistent “titushki” (men of sporty build – Ed.), the press service said. They recalled that among the parishioners of the eparchy there are enough males, including young men. These people are not indifferent to the fate of their Church, and therefore they rallied to protect the clergy and their co-believers from aggressively minded activists of the OCU, who regularly attack Metropolitan Varsonofy, the clergy and laity of the eparchy.
“Once again, the desire of the pro-OCU official to drag through the mud our Church didn’t surprise anyone. It is a pity that the all-Ukrainian television channel is involved in spreading slander and outright lies. However, whatever effort is taken to spread a lie, it still will not become the truth,” the press service of the eparchy concluded.
We recall that after the appeal of the Vinnitsa Eparchy of the UOC, the investigating authorities opened criminal proceedings against Igor Saletsky for arbitrariness. During the investigation, the court suspended the official from performing duties for a period of two months, but the court of appeal reversed the decision to suspend.
Later, the police carried out a new search in the official’s office and seized registration and statutory documents related to the registration of religious communities of the OCU in the village of Novozhivotov (Oratov district) and the urban-type village of Vapniarka (Tomashpol district) in the Vinnitsa region. The search was carried out in accordance with a court order on the seizure of documents as part of a criminal case instituted against an official. However, Saletsky himself stated that this was just an attempt to prevent him from fulfilling his official duties.