All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations Vainly Seeks Meeting with President
Assessing the church-state relations since Viktor Yanukovych took power, Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate Bishop Yevstratii (Zoria) noted that despite all the negative tendencies of “the expectations of Patriarch Kirill and some hotheads from MP [Moscow Patriarchate] that the authorities embodied in Viktor Yanikovych will by all means help destroy the structure of the Kyivan Patriarchate have not proved true at all.”
At the same time, the bishop pointed to the current difficulties in the area ofc hurch-state relations, the open domination of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate. But Bishop Yevstratii expressed conviction that its is a temporary situation. “President Leonid Kuchma followed approximately the same path in the beginning of his term,” said the bishop in an interview to portal-credo.ru
The difficulties in realizing an effective model of church-state relations in Ukraine mentioned by him include also regionalizing the state policy in relation to religious organizations. Therefore, according to the bishop, despite the fact that the State Committee on Nationalities and Religions functions, “the committee has no effective tools of influence so far.”
To illustrate his statement, the bishop mentioned the situation regarding the meeting of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, which has still not taken place after his election as the president.
“On the one hand, there is the State Committee, a public body with which we cooperate well, and, on the other hand, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations since March has been unsuccessfully seeking a meeting with the head of the state, which has not been refused but which has not taken place so far. This proves that the possibilities of the committee, which seeks to organize such a meeting, are very limited,” stated Bishop Yevstratii.
According to him, in view of the above, the question of developing church-state relations is left open.