18 May 2017, 12:04
World Council of Churches head calls on Poroshenko to withdraw bills "detrimental" to Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Moscow, May 18, Interfax - Responding to an appeal from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, World Council of Churches Secretary General Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit has forwarded messages to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Ukrainian Verkhovnaya Rada Chairman Andrey Parubiy to express "deep concern" over the prospect of passing bills that would be "detrimental" to the rights of the canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine and calling for these bills to be withdrawn.
It was reported that Bill No. 4511, which the Verkhovnaya Rada is expected to debate at its session on Thursday, proposes granting special status to religious organizations "the administrative centers of which are located in a state which is designated by the Verkhovnaya Rada as an aggressor state."
Bill No. 4128 suggests allowing people who are members of a church community to change this church community's charter by a simple majority of votes, a move that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate believes will result in legalizing "forcible" takeovers of its churches and transferring control over them to the self-proclaimed "Kiev Patriarchate".
"As an ecumenical organization which in its 70 years of existence has always stood for religious freedom and advocated against any form of discrimination in all parts of the world, the World Council of Churches considers that the above mentioned legislative initiatives, if adopted, endanger the freedom of religion and the equality of all churches and religious communities in Ukraine, and risk causing new tensions within Ukrainian society," the World Council of Churches secretary general said in his message shared with Interfax-Religion.
"While appreciating all the efforts made by the government of Ukraine for consolidating democracy and for improving Ukrainian legislation in order to meet international standards, it is our conviction that these two bills run counter to these efforts for democratic development of Ukraine," he said.
"We call for these detrimental bills to be withdrawn," he said.
The World Council of Churches is the largest ecumenical organization, which includes 348 member Churches representing more than 110 countries and 500 million Christians.
It was reported that Patriarch Kirill of Moscow had called on the leaders of the Normandy format countries, the Orthodox churches, Pope Francis and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres to prevent the planned adoption by the parliament of Ukraine of the aforementioned bills that are regarded by the Russian Orthodox Church as discriminatory.
"As the messages state, these bills, if adopted, will legalize a discriminatory legal practice unheard of in today's Europe with regard to the majority of the Orthodox population in Ukraine. So restrictive a religious legislation did not function in Ukraine even under the communist regime, while in the rest of Europe something similar existed only during the Nazi rule in Germany," the Russian Orthodox Church said on its website on Wednesday.
- Patriarch Kirill tells Anglican leader about Ukraine's religious freedom violations 21 November 2017, 18:14
- Medvedev notes Patriarch Kirill's efforts in consolidating multi-million-person Russian world 21 November 2017, 10:03
- Patriarch Kirill calls on film, stage industry not to rock boat of human passions 21 November 2017, 10:00
- Nikita Belykh allowed church wedding in detention 20 November 2017, 17:38
- Million signatures for protecting children from the moment of conception will be conveyed to the Kremlin administration 20 November 2017, 16:30
- Patriarch of Georgia will baptize 670 children on St. George Day 20 November 2017, 16:28
- Jewish leader thanks Patriarch Kirill on his birthday for "colossal" contribution to developing inter-religious relations 20 November 2017, 16:26
- Putin gives Patriarch Kirill painting featuring Kremlin's main Orthodox church 20 November 2017, 12:21
- Metropolitan Hilarion calls for laws protecting child since conception 20 November 2017, 10:46
- Belgorod imam sentenced to 8.5 years for abetting terrorism 17 November 2017, 13:08
- Georgian Ministry of Interior concerned with “sweet bombarding” of countryside schools with priests participating 17 November 2017, 10:47
- Searches conducted at home of imam of one of Nazran's main mosques 17 November 2017, 10:07
- Moscow mufti urges adoption of Islam development strategy to 2030 16 November 2017, 21:55
- Ukrainian parliament makes Catholic Christmas a public holiday 16 November 2017, 21:53
- Patriarch Kirill tells U.S. ambassador of importance of developing "heart-level" contacts among pious Russians, Americans 16 November 2017, 18:46
- Talk of restoring monarchy in Russia premature - Maria Romanova 16 November 2017, 17:03
- Patriarch Kirill asks Putin to back Donbass prisoner exchange proposal 15 November 2017, 16:33
- Justice Ministry regrets ECHR rejection of Russian request to review decision on law banning gay propaganda among children 15 November 2017, 10:00
- Head of the Anglican Church arrives in Moscow next week 13 November 2017, 16:32
- Jewish Museum and Center of Tolerance celebrate their fifth anniversary 13 November 2017, 16:28
- Soviet Union managed to build "a kingdom of justice," church official believes 13 November 2017, 10:24
- Particle of St. Seraphim of Sarov relics will be brought to Greece 13 November 2017, 10:20
- Russia should impose 5-10-year moratorium on Lenin burial topic - Church representative 13 November 2017, 10:01
- Head of Madrid-based House of Romanov to meet with Patriarch Kirill in Moscow on Nov 18 09 November 2017, 10:29
- Russia without revolution could have achieved more, Metropolitan Hilarion believes 07 November 2017, 18:10
- Business ombudsman calls for Lenin to be removed from Mausoleum, for final end to be put to Soviet past 07 November 2017, 10:11
- Kadyrov waiting for Zyuganov's apology for remarks on Lenin's burial 07 November 2017, 10:07
- Putin offers Trump condolences over Texas tragedy 07 November 2017, 10:02
- Mausoleum is, must remain Lenin's burial place – Zyuganov 02 November 2017, 18:04
- Head of human rights council suggests turning Mausoleum into museum, selling tickets to enter it, think of Lenin's body as pharaoh's mummy 02 November 2017, 17:26