Archimandrite Luka: We'll have to fight for the rights of believers in AFU
The Deputy Head of the UOC Department for Interaction with the Armed Forces and Other Military Units of Ukraine commented on the adopted bill on chaplaincy.
Much effort is needed to protect the rights of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, guaranteed by the Constitution. Archimandrite Luka (Vinarchuk), Deputy Head of the Synodal Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church for Interaction with the Armed Forces and Other Military Units of Ukraine, said this in a comment to the UOJ.
Asked about the bill "On the Service of Military Chaplaincy" passed by the Verkhovna Rada, the Archimandrite stated, "Yes, the provision aimed at discriminating against the UOC has been removed from it, but given the state's position, we are certainly not out of the woods yet."
"We still have a long way to go to restore fair treatment to the servicemen who are members of our Church," said Archimandrite Luka. “The worst scenario has been prevented thanks to several MPs who have a state mindset. However, given the politicization of ecclesiastical issues, we are well aware of the complexity which the faithful of our Church are confronted with in the army.
He thanked the deputies, who succeeded in halting discriminatory norms from being pushed into the chaplaincy law, for their "consistent state position."
It is a big difference when they call us the "Moscow Church" and when they overlook the rights of believers guaranteed by the Constitution. We understand that there will be many more difficulties. But we are ready to continue to make every effort to protect the rights of faithful servicemen who are children of our Church," said the deputy head of the Synodal Department of the UOC.
Archpriest Alexander Bakhov, head of the UOC Legal Department, and Yuri Reshetnikov, a specialist in state-church relations, commented on the previously adopted bill on military chaplaincy for the UOJ.