OCU urges officials not to block the voluntary withdrawal of communities from the Moscow Patriarchate, - Statement
These concerns were voiced in the Statement of the Kyiv Metropolia of the OCU.
"Information is received from many regions of Ukraine that local civil servants and representatives of bodies designed to protect law and order and security interfere in the process of voluntary decision-making by Orthodox communities to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the bodies of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine. They prevent the holding of general meetings of such communities, interfere with the registration of statutory documents of communities by local administrations. Facts of direct pressure on active parishioners and clergy and their intimidation are being recorded, particularly through the use of tools of criminal proceedings," the OCU notes.
The authors of the Statement note that the right of free choice by a religious community is guaranteed by the Law of Ukraine on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations (Article 8).
In addition, they believe that the process of voluntarily changing church jurisdiction is objective:
"Data from sociological studies indicate a sharp drop in the confidence of our fellow citizens in the structures of the Moscow Patriarchate – 3/4 of those who identified themselves with this religious association at the beginning of the year lost confidence in it. Against the backdrop of the open cynical support provided to Russian aggression by the head of the Moscow Patriarchate, Kirill Gundyaev, and subordinate institutions, given the long-term broad and consistent support of the MP entities in Ukraine for the Russian World ideology, propaganda of unity with Moscow, as well as reports of numerous facts of collaboration on the part of the MP clergy with the Russian occupiers, it is quite understandable that the Orthodox faithful in Ukraine will completely and finally break with the Russian Orthodox Church."
The OCU notes that the UOC-MP misleads people by saying that their clergy have nothing in common with Moscow and Kirill:
"After all, in the first paragraph of the updated charter, the current status of the UOC religious association (MP in Ukraine) is recognized as based on the Charter of the previous Moscow Patriarch Alexy II, which clearly states that the UOC is part of the Russian Orthodox Church...
It can be stated that the main current task of the UOC religious association was to preserve the number of parishes at any cost. People in power are also involved in this task through personal sentiment, and possibly through corruption schemes, as evidenced by the trends mentioned above."
The Kyiv Metropolia of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, therefore, appeals to all those on whom it depends to immediately take appropriate measures to stop the practice of obstructing Orthodox communities in their withdrawal from the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate.