The Ukrainian Parliament (Rada) is considering legislation which would pave the way for a ban on Orthodox Christian Churches under the Moscow Patriarchy.
If the new laws are adopted, it would allow the Ukrainian regime to ban churches, police the worship and other practices of churches, ban missionaries from entering the country and seize the assets of churches.
The laws would only apply to churches whose ecclesiastical leadership was based in what Ukraine considers to be ‘aggressor states’. Russia is the only state that Ukraine currently views as an aggressor. Not only is this an attack on the freedom to worship, but it is a clearly racially motivated attack on believers.
Advocates of religious freedom from around the world have condemned these proposals. The Ukrainian proposals would be totally illegal in the EU (which Ukraine seeks to join) as well as the United States.
Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church has previously drawn the world’s attention to the discrimination of Christians in the Middle East at the hands of western back jihadist groups. He called the Ukrainian proposals a “full scale war” on believers.
“These draft laws in the first place target the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchy. It is absolutely obvious, with those behind the bills not even trying to cover it up.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church will be put under such submission to Kiev authorities that didn’t exist even in the Soviet times”.
Father Andrey Zuevsky told RT,
“Should state officials be given the rights to forcefully eliminate religious communities, this will become an open and brutal interference into believers’ private life. In Orthodox Christianity, personal faith is largely realised within a community, a church. When the government interferes in its life, it violates religious freedoms”.
A statement from the Moscow Patriarchy said the proposals,
“Threaten the constitutional rights of millions of Ukrainian believers, may cause a wave of violence and new seizures of churches, and escalate inter-communal conflict in Ukraine”.
Over 300,000 people have signed a petition protesting attempts to destroy religious freedom in Ukraine.