UOC Legal Department on State Ethnopolitics expertise: wishful thinking

01 February 18:39
Head of the Legal Department of the UOC Archpriest Oleksandr Bakhov. Photo: UOC Information Department Head of the Legal Department of the UOC Archpriest Oleksandr Bakhov. Photo: UOC Information Department

The Legal Department of the UOC stated that the expertise on the relations of the UOC with Moscow was carried out by biased people, and their conclusions do not correspond to reality.

The head of the Legal Department, Archpriest Oleksandr Bakhov, called the commission of the State Ethnopolitics, which revealed the connection of the UOC with Moscow, "illegal, carried out in violation of the law and beyond the scope of the subject of its study". He spoke about this in a commentary to the UOC Information and Education Department.

The priest said that the people who participated in the commission under the name of experts are openly hostile towards the UOC, and therefore their conclusions cannot be objective.

“The Legal Department filed an application demanding to clarify the election of these particular expert members and expressed distrust of them since they have repeatedly openly expressed their biased attitude and made openly hostile statements towards the believers of the UOC, showing religious intolerance and hostility. The DESS was obliged to ensure the conduct of objective and unbiased religious expertise of the Statute on the management of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” said the head of the Legal Department.

He noted that the DESS commission was obliged to consider the provisions of the Statute of the UOC, while the "experts" devoted most of the document to the study of the Statute of the Russian Church.

“The subject of the expert study, in accordance with the decision of the National Security and Defence Council, is the church-canonical relation with the Moscow Patriarchate in the Statute on the management of the UOC, and not in the Statute and the website of the ROC,” the lawyer noted. “According to the statutory documents, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is independent and self-governing in its management and structure. Its governing bodies – the Council and the Synod – are located in Kyiv. So, this examination is absolutely not relevant to the subject of the study.”

According to the head of the Legal Department, the conclusions of the DESS commission are “interference in the internal affairs of the largest denomination in Ukraine, gross manipulation and a blatant desire to violate the rights to freedom of religion of 12,000 religious organisations and millions of believing citizens of Ukraine. If a decision is made on the basis of this conclusion, we will protect ourselves by all legal means, both at the national and international levels.”

As reported, the State Ethnopolitics expertise called the UOC "a structural subdivision of the ROC".

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