06 May 2022, 12:06
Ukrainian Orthodox Church says bans on its activities imposed by local authorities have no legal force
Moscow, May 6, Interfax - The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has told local authorities the ban on the activities of its communities and attempts to move them under the new church of Ukraine are unacceptable.
Such incidents happened in various regions of Ukraine after the start of the Russian special military operation. The most recent such situation has recently happened in Konotop, where the city's mayor issued a decree banning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The legal department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said in a statement released on Friday that no Ukrainian law or regulation empowers local self-governance bodies to ban or interfere in the work of religious organizations, even in a situation of martial law.
"And the demand made by officials and local self-governance bodies to move the religious communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the newly formed Orthodox church of Ukraine constitutes interference in the internal affairs of a religious community. It contradicts the European Convention on Human Rights and the Ukrainian Constitution as "the church and religious organizations in Ukraine are separated from the state," the statement said.
In this regard, the church legal department said that "decisions banning the activities of the religious communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church or forcing [them] to move under the Orthodox Church of Ukraine are illegal and have no legal force." The lawyers called on the local authorities not to violate the laws of Ukraine, not to ban and not to limit the right of the flock and religious communities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to freedom of religion and encouraged law enforcement agencies to react to such violations in a timely and impartial manner.
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