UOC (MP) opens a Representative Office in the EU
In Kharkiv, on May 27 the Holy Synod of the UOC (MP) held a session. The Synod took place in the premises where 25 years ago the Kharkiv Council of Bishops was held.
There Metropolitan Filaret (Denisenko) was removed from the office of the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Volodymyr (Sabodan) was elected Metropolitan of Kyiv. The Ukrainian churches have the different attitude towards those events. UOC (MP) considers the council a positive event, while the UOC-KP condemns it and considers it illegitimate from the ecclesial perspective.
Thus, the Holy Synod issued a request to the faithful, in which it recalled the events of 25 years ago and provided quantitative information about the Church.
Also, the hierarchs of the UOC (MP) decided to set up their own representative office with international organizations in Europe. As the report emphasizes, is predetermined by the position of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the important philosophical, religious, social and socio-political issues. The office will be led by Fr Victor (Kotsaba), who is to be consecrated as a bishop specifically for this office.
The Holy Synod officially condemned religious Bill 4128 (on the change of jurisdiction) and Bill 4511 (on a special status for the Church, whose center is in the aggressor state). The content of bills was presented incorrectly to the hierarchs. In particular, document 4128 states that “the right [to amend the charter] is given even to persons not related to the religious community.” The text of the bill which is submitted for a vote, states that the charter is to be amended at “a general meeting of believers who belong to this religious community.” In general, the Synod members urged MPs not to support these bills.
Church leaders also criticized the activities of the Ministry of Culture, which won’t register the statutes of the UOC (MP). The position of the authorities is that the charters contradict the current legislation, and were sent back for revision. The church considers it to be a discrimination. The bishops also state that the Ministry puts pressure on local authorities so that they did not register the charters of parishes. The Synod members describe it as “illegal actions against the Orthodox Church.”
As reported, the church bills have not been considered by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the chronology of events and analysis of the bills can be found at RISU website.