Human rights activists: Words of Phanar head about UOC contain hate speech

Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Photo:

Human rights activists of NGO Public Advocacy point to hate speech inciting interfaith enmity in the words of Patriarch Bartholomew about the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The Ukrainian human rights organization Public Advocacy analyzed the rhetoric of the head of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Patriarch Bartholomew, in relation to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and noted it contains hate speech inciting interreligious enmity.

Human rights defenders published their conclusions about the words of the head of Phanar in a special commentary on the official website of Public Advocacy.

The commentary concerns the statements of the patriarch that, in his opinion, the hierarchs of the UOC are no longer local ruling bishops, but he “temporarily tolerates them” in Ukraine in the spirit of pastoral sensitivity.

Human rights activists believe that the words of the head of Phanar take the form of hate speech, which is condemned by the international community, and this is not appropriate for the status of a religious leader.

In this regard, human rights activists call on Patriarch Bartholomew to refrain from hate speech towards the believers of the UOC and also draw attention to the fact that incitement to religious animosity causes significant harm to Orthodoxy, religious communities and Ukrainian society in general.

The Public Advocacy reminds the head of Phanar that, from the point of view of modern law, each religious denomination, consisting of specific communities and centers, is an autonomous legal entity.

In view of the above, other persons, both state and non-state, should respect this autonomy and refrain from any statements that may express a negative attitude towards believers and their hierarchs.

As reported by the UOJ, the head of the Phanar said that in the spirit of pastoral sensitivity, he “temporarily tolerates” the existence of the hierarchs of the UOC not as local ruling bishops, but only as titular ones.

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