U.S. Department of State: Odessa City Hall continues to discriminate against Greek and Roman Catholics

17.06.2020, 11:48
UGCC Cathedral in Odessa - фото 1
UGCC Cathedral in Odessa
Greek and Roman Catholics of Odessa continue to experience discrimination on the part of the city authorities.

This is stated in the recently published report of the US Department of State on religious freedom in Ukraine for 2019, "Dumska" reports.

The authors of the document note that representatives of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church have repeatedly complained about the Odessa City Hall since it has denied this religious organization the allocation of land for the construction of a full-fledged church for many years.

"Dumska" has reported about this situation. The mayor's office does not even hide that it listens to the opinion of the Diocese of Odessa of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, which calls the timid requests of Greek Catholics "the implementation of an aggressive expansion of Uniatism."

Several years ago, the Head of the UGCC Svyatoslav (Shevchuk) described the relations of his Church with the Odessa authorities in an interview:

"If we are talking about the perception of our community or the attitude to it, I would say that today in Ukraine it is in Odessa that it is most discriminating. We still can't get the right to have our temple. You have seen our Cathedral - it is a small basement room. For all the years of existence of the first Odessa-Crimean Exarchate, then the Exarchate of Odessa, no changes have occurred. Therefore, I think that the situation with Greek Catholics in Odessa is a litmus test, an indicator of how much Odessa can be called "Porto Franco" and consider itself a truly open city. This openness means, first of all, mental openness and freedom from bias against certain religions, organizations or Churches."

But let's get back to the US Department of State report. Roman Catholics are doing somewhat better, but they also experience discrimination.

In 2015, the community achieved recognition of ownership of the Church of St. Peter in Havana street through the great efforts and only recently it was able to get the title to a land plot for the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Kateryninska street, which was requested by the City Council for almost three decades.

The Moscow Patriarchate has never faced such problems - this organization gets everything it wants in Odessa, on the first request.

Now Catholics continue to fight for the return of buildings and premises taken from them by the Soviet government. We are referring, in particular, to the Seminary building at 23 Bunina street, which is now occupied by the Communications Research Institute.