Moscow Orthodox Metropolitan Calls New Conscience Law Unacceptable
Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sabodan), head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), on 24 October 2002 sent a letter to the head of the Ukrainian Parliament, heads of parliamentary groups and all national deputies of Ukraine. In the letter, he asked them to consider the proposal of the UOC-MP and not pass the legislative bill “On the Amendments to the Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations,” submitted by the National Committee on Religious Matters of Ukraine.
Metropolitan Volodymyr stated that his church “can by no means accept this legislative bill, since none of the UOC-MP’s proposals was taken into account, whereas the amendments introduced by the National Committee on Religious Matters made the bill less democratic than the current law.” In addition, the metropolitan demanded that a number of important provisions on which the UOC-MP insists be included in the bill. These provisions are: that the state recognize the special role of canonical Orthodoxy in Ukraine’s history, as well as in the formation and development of the culture and spirituality of the Ukrainian nation; that the church be granted the right to conduct manufacturing and agricultural activities; that the church be granted the status of a legal entity; that the norm on the sharing of church buildings by different religious groups be cancelled; and that church property currently owned and used by the state be returned. Unless these proposals are included, the hierarchs of the UOC-MP believe that the new law “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations” will not be acceptable for their church. Source: www.orthodox.org.ua