Lviv Eparchy responds to call to dismiss teachers-parishioners

23 September 15:36
Lviv Eparchy responds to call to dismiss teachers-parishioners

The Lviv Eparchy's press service has published an official comment on the call by the village head of Verkhnia Yablonka to dismiss teachers-UOC parishioners.

On September 23, 2022, the Lviv Eparchy of the UOC commented on the appeal published on September 12 by Eva Semkiv, head of the village of Verkhnia Yablonka (Turka district), who urged the head of the Lviv RMA to dismiss the school principal and teachers for attending UOC churches. The press service commentary is posted on the eparchy’s website.

The eparchy reminded Eva Semkiv of the powers of the village headman established by the Law of Ukraine "On Local Self-Government in Ukraine" and explained that "it is not within the function of the headman to violate the laws of Ukraine". "However, Ms. Eva Semkiv has violated several very important laws that guarantee the rights and freedoms of the citizens of our country", the commentary stressed and listed the laws that the official violated.

These are the Constitution of Ukraine, Article 35 of which guarantees "the right to freedom of conscience and religion" and the Law of Ukraine on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations, Article 3 "Right to Freedom of Conscience" and Article 4 "Equality of Citizens regardless of their attitude to religion".

The comments of the Lviv Eparchy also informed the village head that according to Article 5 of the Law of Ukraine "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organisations" the Church is separated from the state and schools are separated from the Church (Article 6). "The state education system in Ukraine is separated from the Church (religious organisations) and has a secular character," the eparchy was quoted as saying.

The Law of Ukraine "On Education", Article 31, also testifies to this. The same law lists the grounds "for early dismissal of the head of a general secondary education institution".

The Lviv Eparchy statement noted that "the law establishes clear grounds for the dismissal of the head of the school", but none of its clauses were violated by the school director and teachers. The only reason for their dismissal, according to the headmaster, was that they attended services in churches of the "Moscow Patriarchate" and thus set a bad example for the pupils.

The press service of the eparchy reminded in the statement that on May 27, 2022, the Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church held in St Panteleimon's Monastery (Feofaniya) adopted additions and amendments to the UOC Statute that signify full independence and autonomy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate.

The statement also noted that being present at the Divine Liturgy cannot teach the students anything bad and advised the village head, Eva Semkiv, to "attend the service at the Church of the Pochaiv icon of the Mother of God and check out what is happening at the service".

Also, the eparchy said that the pressure on the teachers concerning their religious preferences is the "incitement of interfaith hatred and violation of the right to freedom of religion".

"We consider such behaviour of the village head Eva Semkiv destructive, especially during the war, when all forces should be directed to support the AFU and pray for Victory over the invader, which believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as well as believers of other faiths do," stressed in the comments of the Lviv Eparchy.

As reported, the head of the village of Verkhnia Yablonka appealed to the chairman of the Lviv RMA in a letter, which called for the dismissal of the school principal and teachers because they attend the UOC Church of the Pochaiv Icon of the Mother of God.

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