The Deputy Head of the Department of External Church Relations (Ukrainian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate) emphasizes that Law No. 5309 artificially makes the believers of Ukraine strangers in their own country.
December 24, 2018. Union of Orthodox Journalists reports with reference to the ZIK channel, that the Deputy Head of the Department of External Church Relations (Ukrainian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate) Protopriest Nikolai Danilevich stated: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) will not agree to name change and will protect its rights by all possible legal means
“We will protect ourselves by all legal means,” Father Nikolai noted. “This question will be considered in courts. We will challenge this and not agree to name change, because by this renaming they want to make us strangers in our country.”
The DECR Deputy Head also noted that Law No. 5309 itself is controversial.
“Today Russia is an aggressor state, and what should we do tomorrow if it is not an aggressor state? Laws are not written for the future. If laws are written for half an hour ahead, there will be no order in the country,” the cleric noted.
Also, Father Nikolai noted that the Ukrainian authorities confuse legal matters with church canons.
“Legally, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church centre is located in Kiev. And the canonical communion, the remembrance of the Patriarch are canonical things, which are nothing for the state. How we baptize or do not baptize, who we have a prayer connection with, and who we do not have it with – this does not concern the state. We do not live in the times of the Byzantine Empire, where church canons had the power of state laws. <…> And what the Verkhovna Rada does is a confusion of church and canonical issues with legal issues,” said Father Nikolai.
To recall, on December 22, 2018, Petro Poroshenko signed anti-church bill No. 5309, which obliges the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as the Church, “whose governing centre is in the aggressor country”, to change its name and become the “Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine”.