Filaret, the Patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate has appealed to the international community with the request to not allow the eviction of the church from the occupied Donbas.
The open letter of Filaret to the countries-members of the Minsk Talks, the USA, EU, UN and OSCE 'On strengthening of the disadvantage of the believers of Kyiv Patriarchate and other religious organizations in occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions' is published on the church's site.
Filaret notes that the decision was made in occupied Donbas that the religious communities acting at this territory should be registered according to the local legislation.
The priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate were informed that the religious communities should be 'registered according to the law of the republic' within a month.
In case, if the registration does not take place within this term, the religious communities will be deprived of their rights for land and property, including the churches, they activity will be forbidden and the priests 'will be expelled from the republic's territory'.
'The demand to the religious organizations acting in occupied Donbas 'to register according to the republic's legislation' is unacceptable and cannot be fulfilled as it will mean the violation of the Ukrainian legislation', Filaret said.
He appeals to the countries-members of the Minsk Talks and the world community with an urge to assume the urgent measures to not allow even greater violation of the principles of the religious freedom in this region.
'Particularly, I appeal to Russia that de-fact controls the mentioned regions and Moscow Patriarchate that has the significant representation and influence there, with a demand to stop the provocative actions in the occupied Donbas', the message said.
As we reported on April 17, Petro Poroshenko signed an appeal to Bartholomew, the Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch with a plea to provide tome towards the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and urges the Verkhovna Rada to support it.
On April 18, Poroshenko held the meeting with the primates of the Orthodox churches and accepted the appeal to Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch on the provision of the tome on the autocephaly for the Ukrainian church with the signs of all bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate and Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
Since 90-s there are a few jurisdictions in Ukraine that call themselves Orthodox local and autocephaly Churches.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate and Metropolis of Bessarabia of the Romanian Orthodox Church have the canonical status. Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Patriarchate is canonically not recognized.
Also, there is unrecognized Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.