Ukraine: UOC wants the exclusion of biased experts on the examination of its Charter
On 10 January 2023 a meeting of the Expert Group for Conducting a Theological Examination of the Charter on the Administration of the UOC, in which Head of the Legal Department Archpriest Oleksandr Bachov took part, with the blessing of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufriy of Kyiv and All Ukraine, took place. The Information and Education Department of the UOC informs about it with reference to the website law.church.ua. As a result of the meeting, ‘for the purpose of ensuring the complete, comprehensive, unprejudiced and impartial carrying out of a theological examination and preventing the violation of the rights of the UOC’, Archpriest Oleksandr Bachov made a statement on the no-confidence to and disqualification of some members of that group: Ihor Anatoliiovych Kozlovskyi, Oleksandr Nazarovych Sahan, Liudmyla Oleksandrivna Fylypovych, Yurii Pavlovych Chornomorets.
Justifying his attitude towards the issue, the Head of the Legal Department pointed at the conflict of interests and the direct interest of those persons in the outcome of the examination. ‘It is a commonly known fact that some members of the Expert Group not only are parishioners of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine but also show prejudice and enmity towards the UOC, which has been made public more than once on social networks and in the media’, he emphasised.
‘The bill on the ban of the UOC (Moscow Patriarchate) should be adopted immediately. As delay will lead to representatives of the UOC (MP) further pushing their claims that their church is being persecuted. There is danger in it. That is why the bill which is already prepared should be adopted now’, stated I. A. Kozlovskyi about the importance of quickly adopting the bill on the ban of the UOC on air on the Espreso TV channel on 11 December 2022, informs the lawyer.
It is explained in the statement that ‘Oleksandr Nazarovych Sahan is one of active opponents of the UOC, for many years he has been a lecturer at the theological academy of the UOC of the Kyiv Patriarchate, now of the OCU. He expresses bias and animosity towards the UOC in the media and on the social network Facebook. For instance, his post on Facebook on 29 November 2022: “…immediately restrict the anti-Ukrainian capabilities of the UOC MP (the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine). I speak first and foremost of the immediate termination of all agreements on the lease of immovable property (state and municipal), of all other agreements, as these religious organisations have lost the status of a legal entity.” And in his post on Facebook on 10 December 2022 he claims that the Security Service of Ukraine should take more severe measures against representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church while neglecting the presumption of innocence.’
As concerns Yurii Pavlovych Chornomorets, who once was a parishioner of the UOC, now he especially ardently insists upon her destruction, points out Archpriest Oleksandr: ‘He clearly manifests his attitude towards the UOC on his personal Facebook page, for example in his post on 17 December 2022, in which Yurii Chornomorets directly calls the Ukrainian Orthodox Church by the propagandist cliche “The UOC FSS” (The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation – ed.), calls for deporting all the bishops and destroying the structure itself. He spoke about the UOC in the same manner in his interview to Radio NV on 2 December 2022, during which he called for dissolving UOC institutions by a decision of the National Security and Defence Council and called the UOC a rudiment of the Soviet Union. In his post on Facebook on 28 November 2022 he called defending the leadership of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church an action equal to denying the Holodomor or the Holocaust.’
It is said in the statement that Liudmyla Oleksandrivna Fylypovych is also one of primary opponents of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church: ‘In the comments published by the RISU website on 4 December 2022 she directly points at the way how the closing down of the UOC will be carried out – on the level of individual parishes. Liudmyla Fylypovych also thinks that the UOC is a “quasi-religion, which is, in fact, not a religious organisation”. Apart from that, she supports the law on renaming religious organisations and thinks that it should be applied exactly to the UOC.’
It is said in the statement from the representative of the UOC in the expert group to the State Service of Ukraine for Ethnical Policy and Freedom of Conscience that ‘for conducting an unprejudiced and impartial theological examination of the Charter on the Administration of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, I request that experts not having a biased and hostile attitude towards the UOC, as well as religious scholars from international academic institutions, should be involved.’ (Quelle: www.news.church.ua, 10. Januar 2023)