Ukrainian Catholic leader calls shrine legislation ‘clear
19 Mar 2012 by Catholic News Service
KIEV, Ukraine (CNS) — The major archbishop of
the Ukrainian Catholic Church said government-backed
legislation to transfer control of key national Christian
shrines to the Orthodox Church was a clear threat to the interdenominational peace and agreement established in
our state during recent years.
Do the authors of this bill understand that, by
their initiative, they are again pushing our motherland into a whirlpool of interdenominational — and in this case interethnic — confrontation with unpredictable
consequences? asked Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of
Ukraines Communist Party and governing Party
of Regions introduced legislation under which major
shrines such as Kievs Monastery of the Caves, currently under state ownership, would be handed over to the largest Orthodox denomination, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church–Moscow Patriarchate.
In a letter to Volodymyr Lytvyn, speaker of
Ukraines parliament, Archbishop Shevchuk said the
planned transfer would violate European norms and fail to
repair the material harm done by the godless regime under Soviet rule, which ended in 1991.
He added that church property claims required a
complex settlement and should be considered fully and transparently from all viewpoints by Ukraines Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, which represents 18 churches and faiths.
Minority church members have expressed concern
over legal practices in Ukraine since the February 2010
election of President Viktor Yanukovych on a pledge of
closer ties with neighboring Russia.
Eastern and Latin Catholics make up 10 percent of
the Ukrainian population of 50 million, compared to
around a third belonging to the countrys three rival
Tags: Ukraine Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kiev