Kiev, May 18, Interfax - Representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and believers have gathered on Constitution Square in front of Ukraine's Verkhovnaya Rada building in Kiev to protest the hearing by deputies of Bill ¹4511 on the special status of religious organizations whose administrative centers are located in a state recognized as an aggressor and Bill ¹4128, which allows for re-subordinating religious communities to a different center.
The protesters are reading Our Father and other prayers, making the sign of the Cross, and holding posters that say 'Bills 4511 and 4128 are state persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church' and 'God is with us'.
There are over 1,000 believers and clergymen on the square.
Bishop Kliment of Irpen, the head of the Synodal Information Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, said on 112 television that 300,000 signatures had already been collected in support for an address to the parliamentary majority to call on them not to vote for the anti-church bills. Security has been somewhat tightened at the parliament building, no order violations have taken place.
The Verkhovnaya Rada website says Bills ¹4511 and ¹4128 are on the agenda of the Thursday parliamentary session.