06 December 2022, 15:49
Bill that allows seizing Ukrainian Orthodox Church's property submitted to Verkhovnaya Rada
Moscow, December 6, Interfax - A bill targeting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) has been submitted to the Verkhovnaya Rada, the Ukrainian media said.
The bill significantly facilitates the procedure of transferring a religious community to another confession. Currently, two-thirds of religious community members need to support the transfer, and this decision needs to be attested by signatures of the meeting participants. The bill envisages that two-thirds of votes cast by those present at the community meeting would be enough, and there will be no need for signatures.
If adopted, the bill will simplify the transfer of UOC churches to the non-canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the media said.
The bill also says that the government recognizes the right of religious organizations to be accountable to any centers abroad, except those based in Russia. This provision goes in the same vein as the recent order by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on the submission of a bill for the Verkhovnaya Rada's consideration within two months to rule out the activity of religious organizations "affiliated with the centers of influence in Russia."
The bill envisages a direct ban on the free use or lease of public or communal property by religious organizations "which are included in the structure or are a part of a religious organization" controlled from Russia. Observers say that this provision may serve as a basis for severing the lease agreements for the Kiev Lavra of the Caves and Pochayev Lavra, as well as other religious sites that formally belong to the state but are being used by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
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