Yurash: Our work on community transfers encounters misunderstanding & fear
Yurash said that the developed mechanism for the transition of communities to the OCU works, but there are still internal and external factors affecting the process.
The work aimed at facilitating the transition of religious communities to other jurisdictions is met with misunderstanding and fear, said Andrei Yurash, the head of the Department for Religious Issues, Ensuring the Right of Citizens to Freedom of Worldview and Belief of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, to DetectorUA.
According to Yurash, whom the interviewer defined as “the Grand Inquisitor of the Moscow Patriarchate”, he came to the civil service in the now abolished Department for Religious and Ethnic Affairs of the Ministry of Culture with the instruction “to try to understand what is an objective trend in the situation development”.
He stressed that the Department's assistance in obtaining autocephaly and the Tomos for the OCU was not some kind of interference, but “it was a desire for the objective reality that has existed in Ukraine for almost a hundred years, just to realize, understand and help the religious community to realize itself. It was just a job to realize the rights of believers."
However, the official noted, the Department's work on the mechanism for "transitions" of religious communities has faced enormous resistance, misunderstandings and fears. Nevertheless, the proposed scheme, which, according to Yurash, “had an objective rationale” works, but there are many external and internal factors that are trying to influence the implementation of this process.
“There has always been a certain misunderstanding, reluctance, fears – subjective, objective, which did not allow us to fully and deeply reveal the potential of the idea that we started. But I don't quite agree that it doesn't work. Firstly, about 350-400 communities have already implemented this scheme (the right to change the form of religion – Ed.), and, for example, 200 or 300 communities in court defend their right according to this scheme. Thus, together it is not less than 600, possibly 700 communities, which have benefited,” said Andrei Yurash.
The UOJ has repeatedly written how such "transitions" take place on the ground: the temples of the canonical UOC are raided, and officials often re-register its communities to the OCU in violation of the law and against the wishes of believers.
Earlier, the Legal Department of the UOC reported the pressure from the official of the Cabinet of Ministers Andrei Yurash on the Constitutional Court, which is now considering the scandalous law on the forced renaming of the Church.