DECR UOC: State Ethnic Policy Service's response looks like lobbying OCU
The proposal of the State Service for Freedom of Conscience to help the OCU with transitions looks like lobbying one confession at the expense of another, the UOC noted.
In its latest statement, the State Service for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience lobbies for the interests of the OCU without any consideration for registering statutes or changing subordination of other confessions, said Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, Deputy Chairman of the UOC Department for External Church Relations.
By offering to conduct an "independent analysis of documents" and "professional dialogue" with the Regional State Administration in case of problems at the local level with transfers of religious communities, the State Service appears as a lobbyist for the OCU, Father Nikolai emphasized in a comment under the authority’s post on Facebook. Indeed, the publication of the State Service directly indicates the names of confessions and only speaks of "obstacles on the part of the Regional State Administration for religious communities to change their subordination from the UOC to the OCU."
“Don't other confessions have problems with registering statutes or changing their subordination?” wonders the spokesman of the UOC. “Why are you ready to consider problems with registration only when you change subordination from the UOC to the OCU? What if someone from the OCU wants to get to the UOC? Why does the State Ethnic Policy Service respond with such texts only to the statements and comments of the OCU? The UOC has been shouting from the rooftops about the violation of its rights, about seizures, has released lots of photos and videos on this issue – why is the state body silent and does not respond with any statements then?"
By this statement, the State Service for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience violated the principles of equidistance and impartiality, which any state body must adhere to, the deputy head of the DECR UOC noted.
“In addition, in my opinion, these constant provocations and actions of the OCU to seize parishes, which are accompanied by an artificial division of Ukrainian citizens into ‘Ukrainians’ and ‘non-Ukrainians’, ‘genuine’ and ‘fake’, directly affect the security of our state, undermine the internal unity of our people,” he stressed. “If I were state agent, I would make statements namely on this issue, because no other confession in Ukraine does so much harm to public and interfaith peace as the OCU.
It is one thing – inter-confessional polemics on religious issues, another thing – the undermining of the internal situation in the country and the political stigmatization of the same citizens of Ukraine who belong to another confession. "
In a comment to the UOJ regarding the statement of the State Service, Father Nikolai noted that the biggest separatist in Ukraine is the OCU, since the actions of this organizations have lead to division among Ukrainians.
“They undermine the situation inside, they pit people against one another,” he said. “We do not take parishes from them – they do. They foment conflicts. This is the true picture which has to be shown to the people."
As reported by the UOJ, the State Service for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience offered the OCU to help with the "transition" documents.