The OCU supports the ban on the activities of Churches managed from Moscow - the statement of the Synod
This is stated in the Statement of the Holy Synod regarding the necessity of legislative limitation of the aggressor country's intervention in the religious life of Ukraine.
Below, we provide the document in its entirety:
Statement of the Holy Synod
of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Orthodox Church of Ukraine)
February 2, 2023
Regarding the need to legally limit the intervention of the aggressor country in the religious life of Ukraine
The aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and the occupation of part of the territory of our state have been going on for almost nine years. The ideological basis for this aggression is the "Russian World" theory, which denies the unique identity of the Ukrainian nation and the right of the Ukrainian people to their own statehood and the Local Orthodox Church. Inspired by the "Russian World" ideology, the aggressor country's troops commit mass terror and acts of genocide in the occupied territories and against the civilian population throughout Ukraine.
Numerous indisputable facts testify to the decisive, conscious and active participation of the leadership, clergy and many supporters of the Moscow Patriarchate (Russian Orthodox Church) in supporting and spreading the "Russian World" ideology, which contains elements of heretical ethno-phyletism. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill Gundyaev, publicly blesses the Russian political and military leadership for the continuation of the aggressive war against Ukraine.
It is a widely known and indisputable fact that the Moscow Patriarchate, as the governing center of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as its structural subdivisions, are under the decisive influence of the political leadership of the Russian Federation and the Russian special services. Other religious associations with their headquarters in the Russian Federation are under a similar influence to a greater or lesser extent. In the conditions of the war against Ukraine, this influence is used as a tool of hybrid aggression against our country to justify collaboration with the occupiers on seized Ukrainian lands, to incline Ukrainian citizens to treason against the Homeland and to act in the aggressor's interests.
In this regard, the protection of the security of Ukraine, the protection of citizens of Ukraine and religious organizations from their use by an aggressor for criminal purposes is a fully justified goal. To achieve this goal, restrictions on the influence of Russian religious centers must be introduced, and thus restrict the influence of political and military leadership and special services of the aggressor country on religious organizations in Ukraine.
Therefore, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine supports the need to introduce a legislative ban on the subordination (affiliation) of religious organizations in Ukraine to religious associations in the aggressor country - the Russian Federation. Such a ban does not apply to freedom of religion and belief but to administrative and legal issues. In conditions where the threat from the aggressor country's use of pseudo-religious motivation and the administrative influence of Russian religious centers on religious organizations in Ukraine is quite real and poses a significant danger to the rights and freedoms of all citizens of Ukraine, to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state, the establishment of legislative restrictions on the subordination of religious organizations in Ukraine to the Russian religious association is a democratic and necessary reaction to aggression.
If the religious association, which, contrary to the law, continues to bear the name "Ukrainian Orthodox Church", is really independent of the Russian Orthodox Church, as its spokesmen have been claiming recently, such a legislative norm will not affect its position in any way. On the contrary, it will protect this association from Russian criminal interference. However, as established by the religious expert examination, the religious association "UOC" remains a part of the Russian Orthodox Church. Its leadership, in concert with the aggressor country, spreads slander about Ukraine regarding the alleged "persecutions" while almost completely ignoring the numerous and systematic facts of violations of the right to freedom of conscience, as well as other human rights and freedoms, in the Ukrainian territories occupied by the Russian Federation.
Taking into account all the abovementioned, the Holy Synod calls on the Ukrainian state to continue its work aimed at protecting national security in the religious sphere and the international community to take an understanding and adequate approach to the measures taken by Ukraine in its resistance to Russian hybrid aggression.
On behalf of the Holy Synod -
Metropolitan of Kyiv and All-Ukraine,
Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine