Met Onufry on anti-UOC policy: Ukrainians are divided into theirs vs ours
The Primate noted that religious hostility towards the Church had exacerbated in society.
Local self-government bodies and their officials adopted more than 20 illegal decisions to ban or restrict the activities of local religious communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry spoke about this before the start of the meeting of the clergy and laity, reports the Information and Education Department of the UOC.
In addition, more than 40 raider seizures of our churches and more than 15 cases of confrontation and sealing of churches were recorded, and 50 religious communities were coerced to transfer to the so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
“Representatives of other confessions, individual deputies and civil servants, abusing their power and official position, bring illegal and unfounded accusations against our Church. Everyone knows that these accusations are not true. However, such biased narratives, built on emotions rather than arguments, serve as grounds for political slogans regarding the ban on the activities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” His Beatitude said.
The Primate of the UOC recalled that on March 22, 2022, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine registered bill No. 7204 “On the ban on the Moscow Patriarchate in the territory of Ukraine”, which proposes to ban the activities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. According to the document, upon its adoption, all church property of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is subject to stocktaking and nationalization within 48 hours pursuant to the procedure established by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. The Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, the Holy Dormition Pochaiv Lavra, the Holy Dormition Sviatogorsk Lavra and other architectural monuments of national importance, owned or used by the Church, become the property of the state, while use agreements are cancelled.
“Thousands of parishes and other religious organizations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church were established and operate in accordance with the legislation of Ukraine. During numerous inspections and searches by law enforcement agencies of our churches, according to the statements of the so-called activists, no signs of anti-state activity were found. However, this does not stop people, who are far from the Church, from pursuing an open anti-Church campaign. Amid the bloodshed from the armed confrontation at the front, in the territories of local communities in the rear, Ukrainians are divided into ‘ours’ and ‘theirs’ due to far-fetched facts,” Metropolitan Onuphry noted.
According to him, local governments deliberately violate the constitutional principle of separation of the State from the Church and the equality of all before the law, at a time when freedom of religion does not allow the State to provide benefits to one religious organization and restrict the exercise of the rights of another. Religious communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are under constant pressure from state authorities and raiders.
“Without going into the legal intricacies of the iniquity of making such decisions, I will note that the most painful thing is that it is Ukrainians who commit crimes against other Ukrainians belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” the Primate added.
Earlier, the UOJ reported that Metropolitan Onuphry told the participants in the meeting of the clergy and laity of the UOC about the scale of the humanitarian and social activities of the UOC during the war.