Two major hindrances to the increase of the number of OCU Parishes are named
Solomiya Bobrovska, MP of Ukraine, Secretary of the Committee on Foreign Policy and Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation, cited the reasons for the weak dynamics in the formation of new parishes of the OCU. She named and analyzed two factors that affect the process of transitions and the formation of new parishes of the OCU.
Factor # 1 "Parliamentary" - on January 18, 2019, the day after the Verkhovna Rada adopted the law on the permission for the parishes to change affiliation from the UOC-MP to the newly formed Ukrainian Church, on the initiative of Vadym Novynsky (unofficial coordinator of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine), he and 46 other people's deputies from the Pro-Russian camp sent a submission regarding the constitutionality of this law.
Despite the fact that the constitutional court refused to register the specified proceedings, the Pro-Russian camp continues to make attempts to limit the process of transition of parishes. Last year, on August 29, Novynsky, in collaboration with four other people's deputies, submitted a bill that provided for the introduction of criminal liability for obstructing the activities of religious organizations. The bill planned to provide additional leverage to the Moscow Patriarchate in the countering the transition of Church communities to the OCU. However, in November of the same year, the bill was withdrawn by its authors.
Now the same constitutional court is considering a submission, also initiated by Novinsky, on the constitutionality of the law on renaming the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). An interesting fact is that in both submissions, the judge-speaker is Iryna Zavgorodnya. Whether this lady, along with other judges of the CCU, will show consistency in refusing the unreasonable demands of the pro-Russian camp is an open question, because the public is concerned about the fact that the husband of this judge is a citizen of the Russian Federation.
There is also unconfirmed information about Novinsky's use of financial levers on the Ministry of Justice to delay the process of registering new parishes of the OCU.
Factor # 2 "Reintegration". Having declared a course for so-called peace and "reintegration of Donbass", the President and his team decided not to irritate the Russian leadership with the Church issue. Of course, this line of behavior disappointed the parishioners of the OCU, but at least it did not cause significant harm. However, in January 2020, adviser to the Secretary of the National Security Council Serhiy Sivokho, who deals with the reintegration of the occupied part of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, takes children for Christmas to the Pochaev Lavra, which is under the control of a branch of the ROC and puts forward a proposal to involve the Church in the reintegration process!
Obviously, the idea to involve in this process the Church of the aggressor state, which played an important role in rocking the events in Ukraine in the spring of 2014 and in supporting the terrorist groups "DNR" and "LNR", may bring disastrous consequences. Since the branch of the ROC will turn the preservation of its influence by suppressing the growth of parishes of the PCU and the monopoly on canonicity in Ukraine into a political factor of agreements with the reintegration of Donbass. There are no guarantees that the Ukrainian government will not make such concessions to Moscow for the sake of its political ambitions.
In this situation, the solution for preventing these threats, according to Solomiya Bobrovska, should be this:
- unite the efforts of Pro-Ukrainian deputies, regardless of their factional affiliation, to support the OCU in contrast to the Pro-Russian camp;
- public support for OCU initiatives;
- consolidation and coordination of efforts of parishioners and priests of the OCU throughout Ukraine in the registration of new parishes and transitions.
If the parishioners of the OCU want to pray in their own Church and not be under the ideological influence of the Russian Federation, then it's time for them to undertake more active steps,” Solomiya Bobrovska sums up.