Saturday, May 20, 2017

Russian Orth. Patriarch Rips Ukraine Rel. Plan; Law Ends Rel. Protection of an Aggressor State

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has asked Pope Francis and other religious leaders to exert their influence against a proposal to amend Ukrainian laws to withdraw protection from religious bodies that are under the influence of an "aggressor state," the Catholic Culture website reports today (May 20, 2017).

Because Ukraine currently defines Russia as an aggressor state, Kirill said, the proposal would "threaten the constitutional rights of millions of Ukrainian believers," who are affiliated with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church subject to the jurisdiction of the Moscow patriarchate.

He warned that the measure, if passed, could lead to "a wave of violence and new seizures of churches" in Ukraine.

Most Ukrainians are Orthodox Christians, with about 31 percent belonging to the Kiev Patriarchate, 26 percent belonging to the Moscow Patriarchate, and 2 percent being members of the Ukrainian Autocephalous (self-governing) Orthodox Church.

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