Church Council considers the issue of chaplaincy and alternative service during Martial Law
According to the Council's official website, these and other relevant issues concerning church-state relations were deliberated during a meeting held on July 18, 2023, in Kyiv, under the chairmanship of Bishop Vyacheslav Horpinchuk of the Ukrainian Lutheran Church.
During the session, religious leaders and authorized representatives were briefed on current legislative initiatives regarding freedom of conscience and the activities of religious organizations, provided by the Head of the State Service of Ukraine for Ethnic Policy and Freedom of Conscience, Viktor Yelensky.
The Council of Churches also addressed further actions aimed at developing cooperation with the executive authority of Ukraine in countering Russian aggression, including matters related to the spiritual reintegration of liberated territories and pastoral care for Ukrainian citizens who have experienced Russian occupation.
Particular attention was given to societal risks in the context of the government's first-reading initiative on the legalization of medical cannabis (law No. 7457). The Church Council decided to engage in dialogues with the parliament in general and relevant committees to make the religious community's position more understandable to Ukrainian MPs.
Attendees of the meeting were informed about the possibility of cooperation between the Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches. Discussions revolved around potential funding for the restoration of religious sites damaged and destroyed due to Russian attacks. Additionally, religious leaders considered the possibility of an advocacy trip by a delegation of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches to the United States.
The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations will continue the tradition of holding solemn events to bless Ukraine on the occasion of Independence Day, August 24. This annual event takes place at the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv. The Council called upon the state leadership to organize the "Blessing of Ukraine" ceremony at the highest state level.
At the end of the meeting, members of the Council discussed participating in the activities of the Spiritual Leadership Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Furthermore, the Council decided to extend the term of Bishop Vyacheslav Horpinchuk's chairmanship until September 1, 2023.