Yurash: But for Tomos initiative, rights of believers’d have been violated
According to the official, the Tomos is the most striking achievement of the Ukrainian state, which does not "turn a blind eye to problematic issues".
The state is obliged to assist everyone, including religious organizations, in ensuring their rights, said the former head of the Department for Religions and nationalities of the Ministry of Culture Andrei Yurash, who claims to be the head of the State Service for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience, in an interview with LB.ua.
“The state has not interfered and is in no way interfering in the religious sphere,” the official said. “But this non-intervention does not mean that it turns a blind eye to problematic issues. The state, even under the Constitution, is obliged to assist everyone, including religious organizations, in ensuring their rights.”
According to him, “The Tomos is the brightest achievement of the Ukrainian state in 102 years”.
“For the first time in 1917 in the Kiev province, the clergy of the Kiev Eparchy of the then Russian Church declared their intention to have autocephaly,” he explained. “And finally, 102 years later it was realized. But it could not have been realized if there had been no understanding on the part of the state. This is not interference, not even moderation, but simply the support in the realization of the rights of believers.”
Referring to the research of the Razumkov Center, Yuras emphasized that “up to 54% of citizens support the Tomos” and no other religious idea has such support, so the state could not ignore it.
“If the state, through the mouth of the President and the Parliament’s appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch, did not confirm the desire to receive the Tomos, this would not have been secularization but a conscious removal of oneself from the religious plane and violation of the rights of most believers. <...> What he (Petro Poroshenko – Ed.) did on December 15, 2018, any president should have done. He realized the importance of the issue, managed to consolidate those who aspired to autocephaly, and united the society. Obviously, this is good,” the official added.
We recall that Andrei Yurash, who is a target of the investigation of the State Security Committee on the fact of fabricating evidence in the case against the cleric of the UOC, continues to fight for the post of head of the new public service that will deal with religious issues.