UOC comments on the ultimatum of Novohrad-Volynsky City Council deputies
Bishop Victor advised the deputies to attend to their direct duties, which do not include the Church.
Commenting on the ultimatum of the Novohrad-Volynsky City Council deputies to the clergy of the Zhytomyr diocese, Vicar of the Kyiv Metropolis, Bishop Viсtor (Kotsaba) wrote in his telegram channel that none of the deputies has the right to demand that the priests leave their churches.
“None of the deputies has the right to point which Church is correct, nor has the right to demand in an ultimatum form that priests, who are citizens of Ukraine, leave their churches. Such demands must receive a proper legal assessment and are clearly unacceptable,” said Bishop Victor.
Bishop Victor recalled that Ukrainians have the right to pray in the churches of the Church they attend, and advised the deputies to attend to their direct duties.
“They (temples – Ed.) were built by believing Ukrainians, they are visited by Ukrainian believers, and all the priests and parishioners of these churches are believing citizens of Ukraine. Therefore, the fundamental Law of our State, the Constitution, guarantees freedom of religion to citizens, and therefore the right to pray in the temples of the Church they want to attend,” Bishop Victor said.
“Deputies of the Novohrad-Volynsky City Council are better off doing their direct duties: to ensure the stable operation of public utilities, to start the sowing season, to make sure all authorities fulfil their duties. The church is by no means included in the list of those structures whose functioning depends on the desires or preferences of the people's representatives. Every time the deputies put their own desires above the Constitution of the State, nothing good came of it – neither for themselves, nor, even more so, for the State,” he added.
The hierarch of the UOC noted that the issue of improving the status of the entire Church has a canonical order and falls within the competence of the highest church bodies acting conciliarly.
“Only in this case, such a decision will claim legitimacy,” he concluded.
Recall that on April 7, the deputies of the Novohrad-Volynsky City Council decided to ban the activities of the UOC. The deputies demand that the priests of the UOC vacate the temples on the territory of the community within 24 hours.
According to the deputies, the priests did not renounce the Moscow Patriarchate during the 43 days of the war, and hence must vacate the churches, which belong to the Ukrainian people.
As previously reported by the UOJ, the Novohrad-Volynsky City Council requires the priests of the UOC to leave all churches.