In Ukraine this week plan to consider two controversial bill on religious life of the Ukrainians. MPs want to grant “special” status of the UOC and take control of appointments within the Church, and the congregation to allow a simple majority to change the jurisdiction of the parish. Temples of the UOC will be able to legally go to the Orthodox of the Kyivan Patriarchate and Vice versa. Representatives of the Orthodox Church believe that the adoption of these laws will result in the raider seizure of churches, interfaith conflicts and discrimination. At the same time, the authors of the acclaimed documents the fears of believers do not share. The website “Today” found out, which can lead to the adoption of new religious laws, and why the UOC against.
Briefly about the main thing: what laws
Bill No. 4511 authored by 11 deputies from “Samopomich”, the PPO and “popular Front” was registered in April last year, however, to consider the document in the hall of MPs will this week. If the law passes, the Church, “the governing body is located on the territory of the aggressor state will receive “special” status”. We are talking about the most common in Ukraine denomination – the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. After the adoption of the law the Church will be obliged within three months to sign an agreement with the Central authority and to assume certain obligations.
If the bill is adopted, the governing structure of the Church and in the regions and in the capital, will be appointed only after consultation with the Central authority.
The requirements for bishops the laws are not specified. The Central authority may, in its discretion, decide to appoint a Bishop administering the diocese, or not. For systematic violation of this rule, the UOC may be banned.
In the explanatory note authors of the document said, a “special” status is needed in order to avoid “outside influences” on the Church.
Bill No. 4128 was also authored by members of the BPP, “Self-help” and “people’s Front”. The draft law consists of only two paragraphs. First, the Ukrainian affiliation to a particular religious community determines its identity and participation in religious rites. Second: the decision of a simple majority of believers Statute of the community can change.
So, if the document is accepted, the parishioners (or those of identificeret yourself of this parish) can hold a meeting and to change the denomination of the parish. Resulting in the building of the temple will become the property of another denomination.
The experts and the parties: what to expect consequences
In both of the UOC of the bill called repressive and anti-religious. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is independent and is controlled by the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus Onuphrius, says the head of the Synodal information Department of the UOC Bishop Clement. Therefore, the phrase” the governing body of the Church is located on the territory of the aggressor state” in the opinion of the Bishop is incorrect.
In addition, the Bishop is sure that the document has some corruption law is not provided, what requirements should meet the priest in order to pass approval and to take a leadership position. Clement suggests that “approval” officials can demand a bribe. In addition, the “special” status of one of the denominations, I’m sure the Bishop, or how discrimination can not be named.
“This situation cannot but worry believers. In all regions of our state not only paraffin but also those who are outraged by these bills, collect signatures and appeal to the MPs not to allow the adoption of such shameful laws. Now two days has collected about 300 thousand signatures”, – said the Bishop.
About a possible violation of the rights of believers of the UOC and experts say. “It is clear that the UOC will be under pressure in Western Ukraine, but in the East or the South can occur in the reverse process. This can put an end to the democratic status of our state. .. Someone is interested in fomenting a religious war”, – said Director of the Ukrainian Institute of policy analysis and management Ruslan Bortnik. According to the expert, “special status” of one of the churches violates the rights of not only the UOC but millions of its members.
The former head of the state Committee for nationalities and religions Yuriy Reshetnikov believes that both bills is a step towards fomenting sectarian conflict in Ukraine. Back in the 90s, Ukraine was 900 the “disputed churches” (on the property of the UOC was claimed by a breakaway Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate), in 2010 there are only about 30. At the moment – almost twice more. After changing the Statute of the Church will be by a simple majority of the parishioners, the expert believes, is “hot spots” will appear across the country.
“I propose to establish the principle of self-identification of citizens, without a clear description of what is meant by this identity. This will create the conditions for conflict between religious communities. Any group can come to any temple, to announce himself with the congregation and capture it,” warns Yuri Reshetnikov.
However, this opinion is not shared by all Ukrainian confessions. So, the Primate of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Macarius in comments to the website, “Today,” said temple community property, and if the people themselves have built the Church, they have the right to change faiths and leave the building itself.
“If people built the Church, the diocese did not build my opinion, you can write anything, but if people built the temple, it is the property of the community. We know one thing, in the Rivne region, many villages were divided. A priest of one denomination is in the house and the other in the Church. No matter what the laws were not adopted, but the reality of its dictates. Parafialny Assembly – the highest governing body. I am a Bishop, and if I the Church is not built, what I have a right to it? Give – well, not give – it is their property,” – said the Metropolitan Macarius.
The authors of the bill: raids will not be
In article 8 of the law of Ukraine “On freedom of conscience and religious organizations” and so there is a rule that a religious organization has the right to change its jurisdiction, however, the mechanism of changes of the Statute has not been spelled out, says the author of bill No. 4128 Viktor yelenskyi. “On this occasion there is an indication of the European court of human rights: Ukraine would have to register. It is stated in the judgment in the case “Svyatomikhaylivska parafiya V. Ukraine” of 2007″ – says the MP.
The document really spelled out only two characteristics of “member”: identity and participation in religious ceremonies, however, as stated yelensky, the rest of the requirements are already spelled out in the Statute of the religious community.
“How samoidentifikatsiya? He needed to be baptized, circumcised, confirmed – the government does not intervene, it defines the community itself,” – says the Deputy. The statutes of religious organizations is also described: who can be considered a member of the parish. And requirements every organization has its own, says the Deputy.
Raider to capture some temple because of the new law, said the MP, also will not succeed. In the wording of the document that you will submit for vote in the hall, will show: the legality of the meeting is determined by the governing body of the community. If, instead of the parishioners on the charges will be “impostors”, such a meeting is recognized as unlawful.
“Suppose I want to capture the temple. I bring forty people, they month perform all that is required in the religious community. And then try to initiate the meeting at which these forty people change the situation and move to another jurisdiction. So it didn’t happen, in the text, which will make the hall, it will be said that the validity of any meeting shall be determined by the governing body of the community. It may be a Church Committee, presbytery Council, parafialny advice. This body decides the validity of a meeting. If I bring forty people not from the community members, the governing body recognizes that competent, and competence, they are assured of a notary,” – said Viktor yelenskyi.