Ukrainian legislation about religion will finalize divorce between Kyiv and Moscow

Some of the former KGB and Komsomol operatives at the top of Putin regime: Moscow Patriarch Kirill (secular name Vladimir Gundyayev, alleged KGB agent), Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko (former top Komsomol official), Russian President Vladimir Putin (former KGB operative), Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service and ex-Chairman of the State Duma Sergey Naryshkin (former KGB operative). Image: Sputnik

Some of the former KGB and Komsomol operatives at the top of Putin regime: Moscow Patriarch Kirill (secular name Vladimir Gundyayev, alleged KGB agent), Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko (former top Komsomol official), Russian President Vladimir Putin (former KGB operative), Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service and ex-Chairman of the State Duma Sergey Naryshkin (former KGB operative). Image: Sputnik 

Analysis & Opinion, Russia, Ukraine

Two pieces of draft legislation about religious organizations in Ukraine scheduled to be taken up by the Verkhovna Rada today will do far more to complete the divorce between Ukraine and Russia than any other step Kyiv has taken so far. And not surprisingly, Moscow and its agents in Ukraine are aghast.

The first draft law gives to parishioners the right to decide on their own whether they want to change from one jurisdiction to another and requires the registration of those believers, two steps that Yekaterinburg commentator Aleksey Shaburov says will strike at the foundations of the Moscow Patriarchate’s empire in Ukraine.

On the one hand, giving parishioners the legal right to change from one jurisdiction to another will allow Ukrainian Orthodox to decide to leave the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and join the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, something Moscow explicitly forbids without its approval.

And on the other, the required census of parishioners will allow for the determination of just how strong each of these jurisdictions is in Ukraine. The Moscow church has more parishes and bishoprics, but the Ukrainian one has larger and more rapidly growing church organizations, something Moscow routinely denies.

The second draft law, Shaburov says, “hits the Moscow Patriarchate still more strongly.” It introduces limitations on the activities of churches whose leadership is situated “in an aggressor state.” In the current circumstances, that church is the one subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate.

If this bill is passed, he continues, “the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate will be required to get the agreement of the Ukrainian authorities for appointments to senior church positions and for invitations issued to “foreign,” again in this case, Russian, “religious officials.”

Further, and still more of a challenge to Moscow, the draft law says that if it is found that a church with headquarters abroad is cooperating with terrorists, that is, with the “LNR” and “DNR,” then, according to Saburov, “that religious organization can be banned,” at least in principle.

Such regulations will put before the Moscow Patriarchate’s church in Ukraine a stark choice: “either to live under such restrictions or to seek autocephaly, that is, complete separation” from Moscow. Neither is something that the Moscow church or the Kremlin is prepared to accept as legitimate and inevitable.

Yesterday, Patriarch Kirill appealed to foreign leaders the UN secretary general “and even the Pope” to take steps to block Ukraine from adopting these measures. Today, the Moscow media echoed his points (e.g., izvestia.ru, ng.ru, izvestia.ru and stoletie.ru).

Moscow hardly has the moral right to issue such appeals, Shaburov says. It has invaded Ukraine and no victim of aggression can be expected to tolerate the kind of actions the Moscow church on Ukrainian territory has routinely taken. And Ukraine is doing no more than Russia, a country Ukraine hasn’t invaded, has done with respect to religion.

Indeed, the commentator continues, “Ukraine has not done anything that the Russian authorities would not have done,” although Moscow will deny that and many may accept its denials as credible.

At the same time, Shaburov says, “it may seem sad that instead of becoming a European country, Ukraine is converting itself into an analogue of the Russian Federation.” But “for Russians, this represents a chance to view itself from the side: We in the eyes of the world in recent years have looked exactly as Ukraine now looks in ours.”

That could provide the Moscow Patriarchate with a valuable lesson, the commentator concludes, as could the inevitable consequences for it of becoming too closely integrated in the state machine to serve its religious purposes. Unfortunately, Shaburov says, there is no reason to expect that these lessons will be learned.


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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Scradje

    The Russian Orthodox Church, like everything else the kremnaзis control, is a criminal organisation. It cannot be allowed to continue in any shape or form in the nation that its controllers invaded and raped.

    • Ihor Dawydiak

      This article hits the head on the nail. The Russian Orthodox Church of Ukraine (aka The Ukrainian Orthodox Church [Moscow Patriarchate]) is nothing short of a “Trojan Horse” whose primary purpose lies in trying to maintain criminal styled Russian hegemony within Ukraine. Therefore, in order to combat the anti-Ukrainian views of this Church there are three alternatives in dealing with this entity: 1) To restrict the Church from making any anti-Ukrainian proclamations including sermons (repeated violations of this code of conduct would result in the closing of the offending parish or the Church in general by governmental authorities), 2) To place the UOC (MP) under the canonical administration or complete merger with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate, or 3) To create a totally Autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church that would be immune from the political or social views of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). While Patriarch Kirill of the ROC would undoubtedly consider such measures as draconian and totally unacceptable in nature, it is he and his underlings that must learn the lesson that Ukraine is not Russia, has never been Russia and will never be Russia.

      • Scradje

        Option 3 sounds best.

        • Ihor Dawydiak

          Agreed. One single unified and totally independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church and recognized as such by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople would be in the best interests of Ukraine and of all Orthodox Churches in general. As for the ROC, the worst that they can do is delay the inevitable.

        • Sania

          bastardje , where are a lot of ur mighty posts?
          are u begin to step pressing ur tail?

    • Mr. Jackson

      Scradje the Galician Trash said something… uh oh … Scradje aka Alex George is one of the most stupid Ukrainian Propaganda posters in Ukrap Forums!!

  • Alex George

    Excellent. This is long overdue.

    Patriarch Kiril and the Moscow Patriarchate have no-one to blame but themselves for this. They got into bed with Putin and degraded the church by making it into a blind supporter of Kremlin policy. Now they are going to lose Ukraine and its Church.

    • Mr. Jackson

      Your Pope will disagree… ready to kiss the ring and bend over, old senile man?

  • veth

    Kirill is official FSB-officer.

  • Tony

    Freedom of speech and expression should not be confused with giving the enemy free reign to use psychological warfare on your population. This move combined with the recent one to block Russian social will greatly weaken Russia’s psy ops tools in Ukraine and allow it to develop independently. Slava Ukraina!

  • Mr. Jackson

    “The Vatican is concerned about the possibility of passing bills 4128 and 4511 [against the Russian Orthodox Church]. Our Ukrainian ambassador to the Vatican was summoned. The Vatican is fully supportive of the position expressed by Catholic Bishop Stanislav Chirokoraduk on this subject,” — posting of Nikolai Danilevich, archpriest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Patriarchate of Moscow on his facebook page.

    Stanislav Chirokoraduk, criticizing the Ukrainian legislative motives for the Orhodox Church, lamented on May 16: “How can such bills be proposed? If the Church exists, it has its own rules […] It is a humiliation of the Church. “