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Is it easy/safe to be an Orthodox in Ukraine?

Discussion in 'Human Affairs, Political Movements and Charities' started by Dan Bodnar, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. Dan Bodnar

    Dan Bodnar New Member

    Nov 28, 2015
    Orthodox Christian
    Just saw a post in Facebook:

    "Today I've seen the link to an article ( https://maxlinnik.wordpress.com/2016/03/16/on-religious-freedom-in-the-european-ukraine/ ) on Ukrainian religious situation in Facebook. It seemed as quite comprehensive for me. Of course, external difficulties are not as essential for the faithful as the internal/spiritual ones. Nevertheless the social climate is an important thing. That's why I decided to share that article with you and to ask you to pray for us Ukrainians."

    I think the same and ask you to pray too.

    Here is the article:

    On religious freedom in the “European” Ukraine

    Recently, amid scandalous resignations of several Ukrainian Government members and the lack of any progress in the fight against corruption, relations between Kyiv and the EU took a significant nose-dive. But in addition to socio-economic issues one should not forget about the protection of human rights and democratic values. For example, even the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is concerned over violations of religious freedom in Ukraine. In particular, representatives of the schismatic Kyivan “Patriarchate” supported by the nationalists and the local authorities illegally seizure temples of Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate, UOC-MP) with increasing frequency.

    Referring to the one-sided or even false messages of such Ukrainian media as the TV channel “1+1”, the opponents of the canonical Orthodox Church always profess that believers convert to the “Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate” (UOC-KP) voluntary. The “Religious Information Service of Ukraine” website even has a map of such “convertions”: 28 parishes marked as a change of jurisdiction, 32 – as divided ones. In a number of cases there are reports (just like a status reports from the battlefield) saying that “on this day UOC-KP believers took the temple.” It is such a grudging term that was used to cover the illegal seizure of religious buildings in the villages Uhryniv (Volyn region), Badovka and Pticha (Rivne region), Katerinovka (Ternopil region).

    The Kyivan “Patriarchate” supporters often state that the main reason for the change of jurisdiction is “unpatriotic nature” of the UOC-MP. Indeed, in contrast to the schismatics, nobody says “He helped the Ukrainian Insurgent Army” while giving you a holy icon of St. Amphilochius of Pochaev in a church of the Moscow. They do not use the names of men of faith for political purposes, misrepresenting them as almost nationalists. The canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine continues the apostolic preaching of Christ and distance themselves from the dubious policy of the current country’s neo-fascist leaders. That is why alternate services proposed as a compromise in the dispute over church property appears to be unacceptable for the UOC-MP.

    In addition, a lot of examples of the pro-Filaret schismatics’ perfidy are evident for the faithful. For example, as soon as “UOC-KP” members were allowed to serve in the temple of Katerinovka village (Ternopil region) in turns with UOC-MP community to avoid hostility, they simply occupied the church building. Then, on September 21, 2015 the faithful of the canonical Orthodox Church who came for feast’s prayer were brutally beaten by the “Right sector” fighters and the so-called MIA volunteer battalion “Ternopil-2”! At the same time, law enforcement officials took no action to stop the massacre and to restore order.

    Meanwhile, the Kyivan “Patriarchate” refers to the participation of nonresident nationalists in the seizures of the churches as “an assistance in avoiding provocations”. What does this really mean, you can see with your own eyes in these videos:

    Turka, Lviv region, 10/05/2014

    Stinka, Ternopil region, 03/22/2015

    Katerinovka, Ternopil region, 09/21/2015

    Zaluhov, Volyn region, 11/14/2015

    Pticha, Rivne region, 12/18/2015

    It is worth noting that the schismatics often appeal to certain believers’ petitions in favor of changing community’s jurisdiction to the “UOC-KP”. But “credibility” of such documents is well illustrated by the example of the Novostav village (Ternopil region). In the spring of 2014, there were 575 signatures collected for both denominations in the village, although the total number of adult faithful inhabitants was only 382!

    Moreover, with reference to their “majority”, ones who want to convert to the “UOC-KP” are trying by hook or by crook to change the jurisdiction of the whole community in order to retain the right to use its temple. It stands to reason that such an imposing of their will on those who remain committed to their Church contradicts the national legislation, according to which everyone has the right to choose freely their religious affiliation! Probably, this is the reason why some members of the country’s parliament are trying to change the law concerning the religious freedom and to legalize majority-based transitions of the faith community from one jurisdiction to another in spite of the Constitution of Ukraine and in violation of the international human rights law.

    Now, due to the politicization of the issue and the government-led russophobic campaign, Kyivan “Patriarchate” enjoys considerable lobbying power among local officials. For example, on September 4, 2015 the council of the Bashuki village (Ternopil region) took the decision to move the parish from the UOC-MP to the “UOC-KP” jurisdiction so as to a believers’ complaint over the capture of the Archangel Michael temple by the schismatics and the “Right sector” rebels would not be heard in the court. However, on November 24, 2015 the Ternopil Court of Appeal ruled the decision of the village council as illegal. The courts sided with the canonical Church in disputes over the churches in the villages Gribovitsa (Volyn region), Kolosova (Ternopil region), Pticha (Rivne region) and others.

    However, the compilers of the map of the “voluntary transitions” to the Filaret jurisdiction are silent about the such judicial decisions. As well as about the numerous facts of vandalism, arson of churches, threatening and attacks on the UOC-MP priests (for example, the one in the Kazatin town of Vinnitsa region)…

    Let the Europeans decide whether the situation with freedom of speech and religion in Ukraine meet EU standards, but at least the Christian values and conventional norms of the social life are violated for sure!
  2. Tamar78LA

    Tamar78LA New Member

    Dec 3, 2015
    Recognizing that the majority of Ukrainian population has a shallow knowledge of Orthodox teachings, representatives of the UOC-KP put a focus on political activity and make use of the peoples's "patriotic" (and in fact - nationalistic) feelings in their rhetoric. At the same time they are leery of explaining the spiritual consequences of the Filaret's schism to them. As a result, many Ukrainians believe that the canonical recognition is merely a slight nuance and that they partake of the same Body and Blood of Christ as all Orthodox Christians do. They think that the difference between the UOC-KP and the UOC-MP is a matter of the worship's language and of attitude to the events in the Donbass. However, it is not the case.
  3. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Dec 8, 2012
    liber-scripta grim Christian
    Filaret (Denysenko) - Wikipedia
    Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate - Wikipedia
    It appears from this Wikipedia article that an influential hierarch decided to persecute churches that would not support Russia's influence. That is what it seems like. This is how lots of schisms in various kinds of churches worsen. Now we know Russia has annexed part of Ukraine recently. Its not surprising that Ukraine then wishes to decrease Russian influence on its soil.

    The OP claims the USA is supporting 'Right sector'. What we support is the independence of the Ukraine from Russia, which is perfectly reasonable. Why can't Russia be satisfied with its own huge land mass? Why does it pick on its smaller neighbor and then blame the USA for not agreeing?