Viktor Yanukovych Comments on Interdenominational Situation
KYIV — Viktor Yanukovych, presidential candidate and the leader of the Party of Regions, commented on the issue of inter-confessional relations in Ukraine. He noted that “Ukraine is a Christian state, …a true European state with a high level of interdenominational tolerance.” Yanukovych stressed that he supports religious tolerance and said that he has realized that “God as well as Ukraine is one, whereas there are many confessions as well as many ways to the Lord.” Therefore, he considers his primary task as president of Ukraine to promote the spiritual development of the people by establishing a real inter-church dialogue and facilitating the construction of churches.
According to Breeze agency, Viktor Yanukovych also stressed the wisdom of the Ukrainian nation and stated that it “does not buy into political provocations.”
“Repeatedly, for many centuries, they tried to make Ukraine a center of inter-confessional conflict, tried to stir hatred on the confessional level. However, the wisdom of the nation and true Christian tolerance and love for one’s neighbor was victorious,” said the politician.
The presidential candidate showed knowledge and respect for the shrines of Western Ukraine, especially, in the Lviv and Ternopil regions. He called Ternopil a “small Jerusalem.”
“Our ancient churches need real care. Unfortunately, in recent years, due to negligence we have lost more of them than we did during the time of Soviet atheism. And we, as ordinary believers, and I, as the president, will not have the right to bring attention to what denomination believers attend a certain church for prayer. It is important that they attend, it is important that our ancestors left us such pearls. And we should preserve this heritage,” Viktor Yanukovych also said in his commentary.
The politician told the journalists that he became a true Christian late in life but his conversion was deep. “When I was governor of the Donetsk Region, I was approached by a representative of the Greek Catholic Church, the present Bishop of the Donetsk-Kharkiv Exarchate Stepan (Meniok) for help. I granted his request and supported the construction of the church. Today, the faithful of the UGCC pray there,” said Viktor Yanukovych.