Hierarch of UOC takes part in AUCCRO meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine

Премьер-министр Денис Шмыгаль и епископ Виктор Коцаба. Фото: news.church.ua

The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches discussed vaccination, possible ratification of the Istanbul Convention and other topical issues witр the government officials.

On December 1, 2021, Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) Baryshivka, the Vicar of the Kyiv Metropolis, took part in a meeting of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (AUCCRO) with the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmygal, according to the UOC Information and Education Department.

The hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was accompanied by Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, Deputy Head of the Department for External Church Relations.

The meeting with religious actors was also attended by Minister of Culture and Information Policy Alexander Tkachenko, Minister of Health Viktor Liashko, Minister of Community and Territorial Development Alexei Chernyshov, and representatives of other ministries and departments.

The parties discussed the Church's social service amid the pandemic, vaccination and quarantine restrictions, gas supplies for religious organizations, judicial reform, surrogacy, as well as the possible ratification of the Istanbul Convention by Ukraine and the promotion of same-sex relations.

In his speech, Bishop Victor spoke about the social service of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the diverse assistance it provides to people in a pandemic, including helping to treat the sick.

Regarding vaccination, the hierarch stressed that there are no official documents of the UOC that would prohibit parishioners or clergy from being vaccinated against coronavirus or any other diseases. But the principled position of the Church, as well as the AUCCRO in general, is that vaccination should be voluntary, the information on the composition of the vaccine should be transparent and open, while non-vaccination should not lead to restrictions on human rights and freedoms.

The bishop also expressed concern about the vigorous promotion of LGBT propaganda. As an example, he cited government funding for the film My Young Prince, which promotes same-sex relationships and offends the religious feelings of believers.

"We are convinced that creative freedom should not cross borders and discriminate against Christians and other religious views. The freedom and rights of certain people should not be exercised through discrimination, violation of the rights, freedoms and worldview of others," the UOC hierarch stressed.

Speaking about the possible ratification of the Istanbul Convention, Bishop Victor reminded that religious actors had repeatedly explained why Ukraine should opt out of it.

"Issues of preventing domestic violence have already been legally resolved by other national laws, which should only be developed," he said. “The Istanbul Convention does not solve the problem of domestic violence, but legalizes gender roles, introduces the concept of gender identity and, even worse, forces it to be introduced into the school curriculum. Our teachers are now encountering this problem. There are also problems in families, in schools."

In conclusion, Bishop Victor expressed the hope that in the future such meetings of religious figures and government officials would promote dialogue and the implementation of common ideas and projects for the benefit of the people and the state.

Earlier, the UOJ wrote that the AUCCRO would discuss with Shmygal the inadmissibility of compulsory inoculation and state funding of the film that promotes LGBT relations.

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