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Metropolitan Onufriy (C) arrives for the Sunday service of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) at a compound of the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra on March 26, 2023, in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo by Roman Pilipey/Getty Images)
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The parliament's Humanitarian and Information Policy Committee supported a bill that could ban the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) for approval in the Verkhovna Rada's second reading, lawmaker Volodymyr Viatrovych said on March 5.

The bill would prohibit the activities of any religious organizations affiliated with war propaganda or justifying the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Parliament passed the bill in the first reading in October 2023, and now the final vote is to be held.

According to Viatrovych, the text of the bill has been "significantly strengthened."

According to the document, the activities of religious organizations affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church will be terminated "according to a clear procedure" that will include an analysis, an order to comply with the law, and a court injunction, the lawmaker said.

Such organizations will not be able to use state and municipal property, and the transition of communities to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine "will be greatly simplified," Viatrovich noted.

Ukraine has two main Orthodox churches — the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and the autocephalous (a level of canonical independence) Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

The Moscow-linked church (UOC-MP) has been accused of aligning with the Russian government during the war, which the church's leadership has denied.

Since November 2022, Ukraine's law enforcement has raided multiple premises of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, alleging that the church is at the heart of "subversive activities by Russian intelligence services."

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

As of June 2023, 66% of Ukrainians believed the UOC-MP should be banned, according to a survey conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology.

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