Participants of the forum of representatives of the parishes of the seized churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which took place on 22.02.2021 in the Holy Dormition Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, adopted an appeal to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky on the violation of the constitutional rights of believers of the UOC. Excerpts from the circulation are published by the Telegram channel “Labarum. Sim pobedishi”.
The document reads: “We are addressing you on behalf of ordinary people from all over Ukraine, where by force or fraud … they have taken away or are trying to take away churches where their grandfathers and great-grandfathers went.
We note that, being the largest religious community in Ukraine, we, unfortunately, are losing hopes of securing the right to freedom of religion …
… State bodies, interfering in the internal affairs of the Church, impose their understanding of its religious and hierarchical structure. The provisions of the Constitution of Ukraine are being violated, which exclude the possibility of establishing special requirements for the name of individual religious organizations and regulating the right of everyone to profess any religion.
… we were deprived of the opportunity to amend the constituent documents, change heads, open accounts in banking institutions, use the services of notaries, register rights to land plots under church buildings, and so on.
Certain pseudo-religious organizations regularly carry out provocative actions that cause destabilization in Ukrainian society. The media and the Internet provide false information regarding the coverage of religious events, discrediting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The number of religiously motivated criminal offenses and lawsuits to appeal against acts of state authorities, etc.
The laws on forced change of name and subordination do not comply with either the Constitution of Ukraine or international treaties in the field of human rights …
In connection with the above, we, the participants of the congress of representatives of the parishes of the seized churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,
We call on the President of Ukraine to apply the powers granted by the legislation of Ukraine and demand that urgent and effective measures be taken to protect the constitutional rights of believers who belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. And:
– submit, by way of legislative initiative, to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine a bill that will cancel the operation of Law of Ukraine No. 2673-VIII and Law of Ukraine No. 2662-VIII (which, along with the fact that they cause violation of constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens of Ukraine, pose a threat to the authority of our state in the international arena, question the sincerity of the European integration aspirations proclaimed by Ukraine, the implementation of which is impossible in conditions of violation of human rights and freedoms and especially vulnerable segments of the population, which include believers).
– to unite efforts and resources to create equal and safe living conditions in Ukraine, to eradicate any kind of violence against believers.”