"ES" and "Servants of the People" submit a bill against UOC to VR

06 December 2022 10:36
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Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. Photo: NurPhoto via Getty Images Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. Photo: NurPhoto via Getty Images

MPs from the Servant of the People and Eurosolidarity proposed a bill to simplify the transfer of UOC churches to the OCU and seizure of the Lavra from the UOC.

On December 5, 2022, the text of a bill introduced by deputies from the Servant of the People and Eurosolidarity to the Verkhovna Rada and directed against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church appeared on the Web. The draft law was published by the Politika Strany Telegram channel.

The deputies propose to significantly simplify the practice of transition of a religious community to another confession. Now, in order to make a decision on the transition, “two-thirds of the votes of the number of members of the religious community required to recognize this assembly as authorized, which is determined by the charter of this religious community,” the decision having to be confirmed by the signatures of the participants in the meeting. The deputies propose to change the wording to "not less than two-thirds of the general meeting of the religious community", and the mention of signatures from the bill has disappeared. If the law is adopted, then the transfer of the temples of the UOC to the OCU will take place at meetings of the territorial community.

The bill introduced a provision that “the state recognizes the right of a religious organization to be subordinate in canonical and organizational matters to any religious centers operating in Ukraine and abroad, with the exception of foreign religious organizations whose activities are prohibited on the territory of Ukraine in accordance with the Law, and to freely change this subordination by making appropriate changes to the statute (regulations) of the religious administration.

MPs proposed to introduce a direct ban on the transfer of state or communal property for free use or lease to "religious organizations that directly or as part of another religious organization are part of the structure or a religious organization whose administrative center is located outside Ukraine in the state that committed military aggression against Ukraine and (or) temporarily occupying the territory of Ukraine”.

The latter provision may trigger the attempts to break the agreements on the lease of the buildings of the Lavra, concluded between the State of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, if the state structures decide that the UOC is part of the structure of the ROC.

As the UOJ wrote, Zelenskyy pledged "more steps" towards spiritual independence.

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