Patriarch Kirill called for action and support for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) amid Ukraine’s plans to ban it. He addressed this message to religious figures and representatives of international organizations, text published on the website of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC).
“I ask you to take all possible measures to prevent the continuation of mass violations of the religious rights of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, including in the form of discussing the current situation within the framework of the agenda of the organization you head, preparing specialized reports, as well as sending special missions to establish the facts “, – said in the message, which was sent, among other things, to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
According to Patriarch Kirill, the initiators and supporters of the document banning the UOC do not hide their desire to liquidate this religious organization on the territory of Ukraine. He emphasized that the outlawing of the UOC puts the Ukrainian authorities “on par with the most sinister godless regimes of the past.”
October 19 Parliament of Ukraine approved in the first reading a bill on the actual ban of the canonical UOC on the territory of the country. The bill was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada on behalf of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky back in January. It provides for a ban on the activities of religious organizations if the Ukrainian authorities consider that they are organizationally connected with the Russian Orthodox Church.
The conflict between the Ukrainian authorities and the UOC escalated in March 2023. The management of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra national reserve terminated the agreement with the UOC and obliged its representatives to leave the territory. In response, the clergy filed a lawsuit to challenge the termination of the lease.
The Orthodox Church in Ukraine is represented by two organizations: the UOC (a self-governing autonomous church within the Moscow Patriarchate) and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), which is schismatic and not recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church.