2018-12-06 14:38:00

Unification assembly in Ukraine is unacceptable amid repression of Orthodox Christians - Russian Church

Moscow, December 6, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church believes it is inadmissible to convene a unification assembly in Ukraine while representatives of the canonical Church there are being repressed.

"There is news that the date of the unification assembly has been set, but any attempts to create any quasi-religious structures will be void and destined to fail from the very start in this situation of unprecedented pressure on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. We believe that the mass violations of the religious rights of Ukrainians who belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church led by Metropolitan Onufry, which are occurring in Ukraine, are increasingly reminiscent of mass political repression," a source in the Moscow Patriarchate told Interfax.

No matter how the Ukrainian authorities feel about the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, there is no doubt that its members, clergy, and bishops are citizens of Ukraine and that their rights cannot be violated, no matter what choice they make, the Russian Orthodox Church official said.

"At this moment, we see the opposite: mass discrimination against believers, attempts to force them into a religious structure. Such things have not happened in Europe for many decades, if not centuries. It openly and outrageously violates a provision of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms," the official said.

"Announcing the date of the assembly in this situation, in a situation when the authorities and the special services are fueling religious hatred, looks like a parody of what the role of the state in protecting citizens' religious rights and freedoms should be," the official said.

If the Ukrainian political authorities were seriously concerned about creating a democratic society, they would become familiar with the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, which has more than once said that it is unacceptable to resolve religious differences using political methods.

"I think everything that is now happening will be revised, at least by European institutions and establishments," the official said.