340 parishes officially joined OCU, according to Ministry of Culture
Director of the Department for Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine Andriy Yurash said this, according to Channel 5.
“Today, we have already recorded about 350 completed processes of transition from the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, some 340 are already documented. I mean, not all of these transitions have been completed and legalized so far at the documentation level, but I mean all the cases where a religious community gathered, where the process was evidenced, where the believers gathered and, arranged everything, were properly recorded. But I am sure that the process is restrained artificially and in the coming months, I think, we will have much more dynamic trends,” said the expert.
When asked by anchor, how fast the parishes are switching and what the factors are that still hold them back, Yurash answered, “Why did I mention artificial deterrence? It is because a lot of external mechanisms are being applied that are aimed to prevent the maximum number of parishes from joining the OCU. On the one hand, external factors are trying to convince the Ukrainian clergy in the parishes that there is no recognition from other churches, because they are only recognized by Constantinople, and the churches say that there are no processes of unification and the parishes do not want to change affiliation, therefore, one should not recognize. To put it short, it is necessary to break this circle from the inside. And the two mentioned bills give full legal awareness that this process of change and transition has a complete legal basis. The law, in particular, Law 4128D provides for a complete mechanism and the logistics of how to implement it.”
Yurash also said that there are many manipulations. One of them is that ostensibly changing the church affliation can be initiated by 10-15 people who are closest to the priest and attempts are made to grant these persons the right to make decisions about the functioning of the future community.
“Of course, this is wrong. A community embraces all members of the community that regularly engage themselves in correlating with the religious community. The second point of manipulation is that only a clergyman has the right to assemble a meeting to discuss this issue, but the law clearly states that the community members are entitled to convene a meeting of the community. That is, the word “members” is used, this means that at least two persons have the right to convene a community meeting, and therefore the priest does not determine the decisions of community members.”
See Ukrainian version for an interactive map by RISU. It shows that as of February 23, 2019, 354 parishes have already switched from the UOC-MP to the OCU.