19 April 2018, 12:04
Rada backs Poroshenko request for Ecumenical Patriarch on setting up autocephalous local Orthodox Church in Ukraine (updated)
Kiev, April 19, Interfax - The Ukrainian Verkhovnaya Rada has supported President Pyotr Poroshenko's request for Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on issuing a tomos on granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
The resolution was supported by 268 parliamentarians at a plenary session on Thursday. The minimum number of votes for the resolution to be passed is 226.
The Opposition Bloc faction said it would vote against request for Ecumenical Patriarch on issuing a tomos on granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
"Our faction is against this decree and insists that church issues should be resolved only at the level of inter-church dialogue conducted by the heads of the churches. We will vote against it," Opposition Bloc faction co-chairman Yury Boiko said in the parliament on Thursday.
The faction has a different vision, he said. "We believe that the presidential campaign starts today. But it is sad and bad that the presidential campaign starts with the use of the most sensitive issue that now exists in society - the issue of religious issues," Boiko said.
The position of the Opposition Bloc is that the state should not touch religious issues, he said. "All these things should be resolved by the heads of religious establishments and believers. And politicians have a right to participate in this process only as regular laymen," Boiko said.
The autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine is a geopolitical issue, considering that Russia has been using the Church as leverage, Poroshenko said earlier today in his address to the Verkhovnaya Rada.
"This is far from being a mere Church affair! This is about our final independence from Moscow. It is not just religion, it is geopolitics. It is national security and our defense in the hybrid war because the Kremlin sees the Russian Orthodox Church as a key instrument of influence on Ukraine," Poroshenko said.
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