Representatives of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations and members of the inter-factional deputy association "Values. Dignity. Family" will cooperate in the legislative sphere in order to resolve issues of church-state relations.

This agreement was reached during a meeting of religious figures and parliamentarians on September 6, 2021 in Kyiv. This is the seventh meeting within the framework of the dialogue between the UCCRO and this inter-factional parliamentary association.

The participants formed a list of relevant legislative initiatives that require amendments, additional revisions, or complete rejection. The participants of the meeting also decided on legislative initiatives in the field of ensuring freedom of conscience and religion, which should be processed and submitted to the parliament as a bill. Among them are the following:

  • cancellation of the requirement for notarization of signatures on protocols of religious organizations submitted to the state register;
  • streamlining the procedure for referral to alternative (non-military) civilian service; 
  • ensuring the right of doctors and medical personnel to refuse to participate in terminations of pregnancy for reasons of conscience.

Likewise, members of the inter-factional deputy association "Values. Dignity. Family" will contribute to the adoption in the second reading of the Bill "On the service of military chaplaincy" (register. # 4626) in the edition supported by the members of the UCCRO.

In addition, members of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations expressed support for the proposal to return the St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Cathedral in Kyiv to the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine, as stipulated by the law and the state's obligations to the Council of Europe. The transfer of the cathedral, which is an architectural monument, to the ownership of the Church will finally allow its reconstruction from the current emergency situation and the consequences of a recent fire.

The participants agreed that during the new session of the Ukrainian Parliament, meetings between representatives of the UCCRO and the inter-factional deputy association "Values. Dignity. Family" will again be held monthly, and if necessary – more often.

This time the inter-factional deputy association was represented by its co-chairman MP Svyatoslav Yurash (the "Servant of the People" political party) and other MPs: Irina Kostankevich (the "For the Future" political party), Myhajlo Bondar (the "European solidarity" political party), George Mazurashu (the "Servant of the People" political party).

The meeting was attended by a representative of the UCCRO Chairman, protoiereus of the UGCC Fr. Oleksa Petrov, Bishop of the Ukrainian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Markos Hovhannisyan, Senior Bishop of the Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church Leonid Padun, President of Ukrainian Bible Society Hryhorii Komendant, as well as representatives of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (under the Moscow Patriarchate), the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine, the All-Ukrainian Union of the Churches of Evangelical Christians-Baptists, the Ukrainian Pentecostal Church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church, the Ukrainian Lutheran Church, and the Religious Administration of Muslims of Ukraine.

The meeting was also attended by the Board Chairman of the Institute for Religious Freedom Oleksandr Zaiets, and Director of “iDemocracy” human rights NGO Mykola Kuleba.

Photo: Fr. Taras Zheplinskyi