Zelensky met with representatives of the Council of Churches to discuss the Istanbul Convention, public morals, and surrogacy
The Head of State discussed with religious figures issues that concern believers of Ukraine of different faiths, the website of the AUCCRO reports.
Volodymyr Zelensky noted that Ukraine is one of the few countries where such an interfaith council as the AUCCRO works effectively and congratulated the religious figures present on the 25th anniversary of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations.
Chairman of the AUCCRO, president of the UBS Hryhory Komendant thanked the Head of State for his time and the meeting:
“This meeting is extremely important and its value lies in the fact that the AUCCRO is the voice of the absolute majority of the people of Ukraine. This is a great opportunity for us to tell you how Ukrainians live and what concerns they have. I wish that our conversation will take place constructively, and its positive results will be felt by all citizens of Ukraine.”
The Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epifaniy, expressed gratitude for the fact that after many years of work and consultations, the law of Ukraine "On Military Chaplaincy" was finally adopted. He noted that Ukraine is developing collective immunity not only to coronavirus but also to corruption, Russian aggression and propaganda. The Metropolitan wished that 2022 would be a year of development and progress, both in the economy and in the spiritual life of our fellow citizens.
In response, Zelensky testified that pastoral service, which is bravely performed by military chaplains of various faiths, is very important for the state and its defenders. In the presence of the AUCCRO members, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed this law, which will come into force on July 1, 2022.
At the same time the Primate of the UOC MP Onufriy explained to the president the position of the AUCCRO on the Istanbul Convention and urged not to ratify it:
"The Istanbul Convention hides ideological mines that can undermine Ukrainian society. The laws of Ukraine regulate well all problems related to domestic violence. For their part, churches and religious organizations are ready to cooperate with the authorities in implementing practical measures aimed at preventing domestic violence, because the Istanbul Convention is not a solution to this problem.”
The president of Ukraine assured the AUCCRO that he would not sign any important document without dialogue with the heads of Churches and religious organizations. He noted that the problem of violence in families should be regulated at the level of Ukrainian legislation, supporting families.
“In any case, such issues should be discussed in a wide circle, and I believe that the Council of Churches should have representatives when discussing this or an alternative legislative act that will protect people,” Volodymyr Zelensky added.
As part of the discussion on the protection of public morals, Bishop Vitaliy Kryvytsky of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine drew attention to the lack of filters in Ukraine that could limit the spread of immoral media products and gambling addiction, which is primarily harmful to children.
"In 2021, according to statistical indicators, the birth rate in Ukraine was half as low as the death rate, which indicates that the demographic crisis is getting worse. Therefore, the AUCCRO proposes to create a separate Ministry for Family, Children and Youth Affairs, as well as to complete the reform of boarding schools for orphans, so that family-type orphanages are created instead,” said Mykhailo Panochko, senior bishop of the Ukrainian Church of Evangelical Christians.
He also called on the Head of State to promote the ban on commercial surrogacy in Ukraine, since in fact, it is a type of human trafficking. The bishop wished President Zelensky to hear and listen to the wishes of the people of Ukraine – in different regions, which will help to better develop our state, understanding the real situation of people.
President Volodymyr Zelensky agreed that the family is the best center for raising children: “I have not yet seen happy children in boarding schools, but in family-type homes, children have the opportunity to grow up in love and care.”
Speaking about peace-building initiatives that are especially important for uniting and uniting Ukrainian society in the face of Russian aggression, the head of the Religious Administration of Muslims of Ukraine, Sheikh Ahmed Tamim, proposed creating a peace development center in Ukraine.
Bishop of the Transcarpathian Reformed Church Oleksandr Zan-Fabian drew attention to the construction of roads as one of the signs of improving the quality of life in Ukraine, which is noted by employees who return from abroad to Ukraine.
The bishop spoke about the invitation of the Interfaith Council of Hungary to visit Budapest, which was received by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations. High-profile meetings with the country's leadership, representatives of the parliament and Hungarian religious figures will be held there.
The meeting ended with a mutual agreement between the President of Ukraine and the members of the Auccro to further develop state-church dialogue and interaction at the level of the state leadership.
"I would like to thank you for what you are doing to make our life truly peaceful and peaceful. You do it with your work, your prayers, and your daily life," Volodymyr Zelensky stressed.
In order to jointly find solutions to complex public problems, members of the Council of Churches proposed creating a working group consisting of representatives of the Office of the President of Ukraine and the AUCCRO.