Since Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula in March, religious groups there -- except for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate -- have faced persecution, and restrictions on their ministry, the Catholic News website reports today (November 4, 2014).
Religious communities in Crimea face an uncertain legal framework, because they are unsure of what laws must be observed. Catholics, Ukrainian Orthodox of the Kiev Patriarchate, and Muslims are all facing persecution from local authorities, and anticipate that they may have to go underground next year.
"The so-called 'Crimean government' issued a new law under which all religious organizations, by the end of the year, must go through a process of re-registration," explained the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Major Archbishop of Kiev-Halych, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, at an October 23 press conference.
It is thus possible that in January 2015 the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church will find itself outside the law, with its parishes and other property subject to confiscation.