Orthodox Church of Ukraine introduces open register of parishioners
The unified Orthodox Church of Ukraine introduces membership “on an applicant's principle”. Each parish will keep an open register of its members who will now take an active part in the financial, economic, charitable, religious and educational activities of the community. This was announced at today's press conference by the Metropolitan Ioann (Yaremenko) of Cherkasy and Chyhyryn of the OCU, according to “Procherk” website.
This approach is intended to democratize church life, make lay people more responsible for the life of the parishes, and also clearly identify who will and who will not have the right to make the decisions that shape the future of the parish (including in legal issues).
"We must move away from the sole leadership of the priest, involve the laity in the church life," Metropolitan Ioan believes. “When a parishioner signs his application to join the community and becomes a member, (s)he takes part in adopting numerous decisions. If a ceiling in the church is leaking, not only the priest, but every lay person will bear responsibility for its fixing. If there is a widow or an orphan in the village, then every member of the community also bears responsibility that they get assistance from the community. In 2014, when the war in the East broke out, the entire parish took on the task of providing the assistance. But we saw that our parishioners are not so well adapted to solve other social problems in which the church can participate. We refer, for example, helping the poor, lonely mothers, etc. The church must make it clear to every parishioner that (s)he is a member of the church and (s)he can also influence what is going on around him.”
However, the Metropolitan added that the introduction of the register of parish members does not forbid other people to come to the church for prayer and to participate in the sacraments and offerings.