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KIEV, May 27. /TASS/. The Holy Synod of canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church reporting to Moscow Patriarchate urged Ukrainian lawmakers on Saturday to stop illegitimate activity against the Orthodox Church, which might end up in religious strife and discrimination.
"Considering the legal initiatives against the Church and the registration of charters of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s religious organizations, the Holy Synod has called on state officials to stop illegitimate activity against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," the Church’s press department said in a statement. "Endorsement of Bills 4128 and 4511 might result in religious animosity, discrimination, violations of freedom of conscience and religion."
Besides, the Holy Synod underlined at its meeting that "it is inadmissible that the Ukrainian Culture Ministry is meddling with the regional state councils’ work in order to block registration of charters of religious organizations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," the press department said.
Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, the national parliament, registered two bills earlier, the adoption of which might terminate the existence of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church reporting to Moscow Patriarchate in the country. The Rada was supposed to consider the bills on May 18 but the deputies did not take them up.
Ukraine has three denominations at the moment, each of them referring to itself at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church but only one of them is canonical or, in other words, recognized by all other local (national) Orthodox Churches of the world and the Ecumenical Orthodox Church of Constantinople. It is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church reporting to Moscow Patriarchate.
The two uncanonical organizations are the Ukrainian Orthodox Church reporting to the schismatic Kiev patriarchate and the so-called Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
Since 1991, the country’s authorities have made a number of attempts to create a local Ukrainian Church disconnected from Moscow Patriarchate. In 2008, the then President Viktor Yushchenko tried to secure support from the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I but the latter hierarch did not give a blessing to the canonical separation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Russian Orthodox Church.