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Government proposes bill that could ban Russia-linked Ukrainian Orthodox church

by Sonya Bandouil October 10, 2023 8:00 AM 1 min read
Monks of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, evicted from the Lower Lavra's buildings, take their belongings out of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery on Aug/ 15, 2023 in Kyiv. (Photo by Andriy Zhyhaylo/Obozrevatel/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's Parliament, registered a draft law banning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) on Oct. 5. After collecting the necessary 226 votes, the bill was officially registered for consideration.

The proposed bill states the possibility of banning any religious organizations affiliated with war propaganda or justifying the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The UOC-MP, which is subordinate to church leadership in Moscow, has been accused of aligning with the Russian government during the war.

Last year, Russian Orthodox Church leader, Patriarch Kirill, supported Putin’s invasion, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. “Sacrifice in the course of carrying out your military duty washes away all sins,” Kirill said to his Russian followers fighting in Ukraine.

After a missile attack badly damaged Odesa’s Transfiguration Cathedral in July, the vicar of the Odesa Diocese wrote to the Moscow patriarch Kirill, saying “your bishops and priests consecrate and bless the tanks and rockets that bomb our peaceful cities.”

The Ukrainian government evicted the UOC-MP from the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra and has brought charges against church leaders for spreading pro-war propaganda.  

54% of Ukrainians believe the UOC-MP should be banned, according to a survey conducted by the  Kyiv International Institute of Sociology.

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