Patriarch Sviatoslav: National Shrines Should Belong to Nation and Not to One Denomination
Patriarch Sviatoslav of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church sent an address to Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn and Ukrainian deputies with a request to withdraw from consideration Bill 9690 on Making Alterations to Certain Laws of Ukraine (regarding transfer of objects of cultural heritage to religious organizations).
The head of the UGCC considers unacceptable the transfer of national shrines, which belonged to the unified Kyivan Church, to only one denomination, namely, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate.
“This way of response to the European recommendations regarding the restitution of church property is a distortion of the essence of restitution which envisages complex settlement of property problems for the sake of repairing the material harm done by the Godless regime,” reads the address, the Information Department of the UGCC reports.
Patriarch Sviatoslav warned in his letter that the transfer of the spiritual shrines of the Ukrainian nation “only to one denomination is a clear threat to the interdenominational peace and agreement which have been established in our state in the recent years.”
“Do the authors of the bill understand that by their initiative they are again pushing our Motherland into the whirlpool of the interdenominational (and, in this case, also interethnic) confrontation with unpredictable consequences?” asked the patriarch.
“In our opinion, the issue of the restitution of church property should be considered fully, transparently, from all the viewpoints and without prejudice by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations representing 18 denominational trends and over 95% of Ukraine’s believers,” stressed the hierarch.