Zelenskyy To Consider Petition To Ban Russian Orthodox Church In Ukraine

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 29th November, 2022) A petition on the website of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calling to support the bill that would ban the activities of institutions that are subordinate to the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) in Ukraine has collected the required number of signatures for consideration.

Last week, the Ukrainian parliament published the text of the bill to ban the activities of the ROC on the territory of the country. The bill states, in particular, that a religious organization may use "Orthodox" in its name only if this organization is subordinate in canonical and organizational issues to the schismatic Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC).

The petition to support the bill was registered on November 25 and has already garnered 25,145 votes, now it must be considered by Zelenskyy.

"I ask the President of Ukraine to support the bill 8221, which provides for the prohibition of the activities of institutions subordinate to the aggressor country... Therefore, together with the public, we ask the President of Ukraine to request that the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) immediately consider the draft law providing for the early termination of the lease contracts and the return of all the property leased by this institution to the state ownership," the text of the petition reads.

The author of the petition claims that this measure will help to return several iconic objects like Kiev-Pechersk Lavra to the state property.

The Kiev-Pechersk Lavra is in official free possession of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. After the start of Russia's special military operation on February 24, Ukrainian nationalists have launched regular attacks against churches, clergy and believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In May, the synod of the schismatic Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) announced the creation of a religious organization, to which it wants to transfer one of the Lavra's churches. The UOC accused the OCU of trying to seize the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra by creating a male monastery on its territory. Moreover, in March, the Ukrainian authorities submitted to the country's parliament a bill to ban the UOC in Ukraine, seize its real estate and other property.

The OCU was established on the basis of two schismatic organizations in late 2018. In 2019, the Patriarchate of Constantinople gave the OCU a "tomos of autocephaly" an ecclesiastical document essentially granting recognition which resulted in a serious conflict between Constantinople and Moscow. In particular, the Moscow Patriarchate and the UOC broke off Holy Communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople in protest to its actions.

Nevertheless, the OCU is still in fact subordinate to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and most of the 15 autocephalous Orthodox churches do not recognize it as canonical.