UOC (MP) distorted my words about religious conflicts in Ptycha, says YURASH
On February 6, the website of the “Union of Orthodox Journalists” made public the information that the spokesman of the UOC (MP) “caught the Ministry of Culture official in the manipulation with judicial decisions in the interests of the UOC-KP.”
Head of the Department for Religions and Nationalities Andriy Yurash denies this interpretation of his words, as it he did not assert innocence of the UOC KP or the fact that the decision was taken in favor of the UOC-KP, but discussed the awareness of the controversial mechanism of court decisions in the case of transfer of Orthodox communities.
According to A. Yurash, in these decisions the judges do not even try to abide by the provisions and spirit of the Law of Ukraine “On freedom of conscience and religious organizations,” which guarantees every religious community the possibility and the right to change the jurisdictional, canonical and any other kind of organizational affiliation with any religious centers. That is, denying the right of the community to a free change of jurisdiction, judicial rulings come into collision with this Law.
The UOJ website cites Mykolai Danilevych, referring to the post from his Facebook page as of February 6. In the news entry on their website the information is entitled as follows: “Director of the Department for Religions and Nationalities Andriy Yurash attempts to distort the content of court rulings on the church in the village of Ptycha to create an image of lack of oppression against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”
The UOC (MP) spokesman writes that he denounced the official’s words, who “emotionally reacted” to his remarks on religious oppression. “I made a speech after him and said that if we were talking about violations of the rights of believers in Crimea and Donbas, we should talk about seizure of our parishes in western Ukraine. And if we talk about the possibility of the formation of the proposed draft application (it is referred to the joint statement of the Public Council under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs policy of non-infringement of the rights of believers – author’s note), these facts also need to be highlighted therein,” he writes.
In a comment to RISU Andriy Yurash denied such a conversation context: “This is an obvious error or manipulation of Fr Danilevych. I hope that a mistake was made unconsciously, due to simple misunderstanding of the nature and content of my words, and was not a deliberate manipulation, which is used when the criminal nature of the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea or Russia-separatist regimes in uncontrolled territories of Donbas is obvious to everyone.
I mean that systemic human rights violations in the areas that are de facto under Russian control are coming to the surface. Therefore, the emergence of a fake conflict plane in the religious segment of Ukraine is required, as alleged antithesis, which can be used at all levels of Russian propaganda. I would not like to believe that some religious leaders are deliberately going any length Ukraine to create this pseudo reality to please their Moscow hosts. During the meeting, I really showed the court ruling on the Orthodox community of Ptycha village, the vast majority (80%) of which decided last spring to change its jurisdictional affiliation. However, I was not talking about the resolution of the case in favor of the UOC-KP, but about controversial nature of such litigation. Every such meeting should take into account and consider the provision of Article 8 of the Law, which guarantees the free transfer of a parish to another jurisdiction.”
According to Yurash, court rulings on disputable parishes who started transferring to another jurisdiction should not contradict the law. This applies in particular Article 8 of the Law of Ukraine “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations”: “The State recognizes the right of religious communities to subordination in the canonical and organizational matters to any religious centers operating in Ukraine and abroad (directorates) and unrestricted change of this subordination.” That is, if any rights are violated, these are the rights of the believers who are prohibited to change religious affiliation contrary to the law.
As it was previously reported, the dispute between the two patriarchates about affiliation of the church in the village of Ptycha lasted for about a year. Most locals are adherents of the Kyiv Patriarchate and therefore they want the priests of their denomination serve in the church. But in the court hearing, held on December 2 in Kyiv with the participation of stakeholders, representatives of the OSCE and Rivne Regional State Administration, the Kyiv Patriarchate’s claim for the church building in Ptycha was rejected. Later there were clashes between adherents of two denominations, in which the parties accused one another. The building is now guarded by police.
As journalists of various media found out, the “Union of Orthodox Journalists” is registered as a LLC, whose founder, according to the Ministry of Justice, is the dollar millionaire Viktor Vyshnevetsky, founder of the Coal Energy company. He was accused in the sponsorship of religious hatred, and was checked for collaboration with terrorists.