Bishops of the UGCC call Yanukovych to secure equality of all churches before the law


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The Synod of Bishops of the Kyiv-Halych Supreme Archbishopric of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC passed an address to President Viktor Yanukovych with a call to ensure the equality of all churches and religious organizations of Ukraine before the law. The UGCC is concerned because the tradition to invite heads of all Ukrainian churches to the joint service in the St. Sophia Cathedral was neglected during the inauguration of Viktor Yanukovych on February 25.

"It will perhaps be worthwhile for each of us to remind ourselves in this context the Gospel warning of the sad prospects of a ‘divided kingdom' (Mt. 12, 25). And the forces which do not appreciate Ukraine's historic traditions and cannot put up with its modern status and do not associate their future with it, are trying to impose on Ukraine exactly that scenario. Our state is multi-confessional unlike some countries of the world where only one religious organization enjoys a privileged status unlike other denominations," stresses the address.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church also warns that the provision of preferences to one of the confessions will deepen the split among the citizens of the state and will do harm to the entire Ukrainian people.

"The Ukrainian legislation envisages that all our churches and religious communities duly registered by the state bodies are provided with equal rights. Therefore, we appeal to you as the guarantor of the Constitution to see this equality before the law and in the public life of all churches and religious organizations observed conscientiously, for protecting only one particular confession over others will only deepen the split between the citizens of our state which would do great harm to the whole Ukrainian nation," reads the address from the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC.

Also the Synod of Bishops of UGCC in the address expressed their concert over the extraordinarily low level of trust in the authority in Ukrainian society. One of the reasons of this, in the opinion of the bishops of the UGCC, is the frivolous attitude of the authority toward the law, in particular to the basic law - Constitution of Ukraine: "Citizens will not respect this authority, which does not respect itself, operates only in order to please some political group or serves for somebody's financial interests. Therefore to you, as the guarantor of the Constitution and all law and order, we have the following request: don't allow violations or unreasonable changes to the law. You have a great responsibility to do everything possible maintain the supremacy of right and honor to authority," reads the address.

The bishops also touched upon the question of observing ethical norms in political life, which should prevail over private and group interests: "In addition to moral principles and basis, which we as the Church aim to instill, the young generation would like to have living examples for imitation among modern state men and women. Therefore again we ask you to make sure that in the authority's structures are deserving persons, honest and accountable to the people, and not obsequious fulfillers of someone's personal or narrow party's will."

As stated in the address, the "Ukrainian nation through the sacrifice of many generations has long fought for its independence and deserves to have the actions of the authority correspond to its historical traditions, national identity, and vital (not only economic) necessities. A considerable achievement and criterion for the evaluation of activity of any president or government is also how much he preserved and multiplied the acquisition of his people to pass to future generations."

The bishops also brought to the attention of the president the importance of caring not only about the economy but also about spirituality. "Today we mostly hear about the economic affairs, overcoming the crisis, but this does not make things easier for the people. And the reason is very simple: happiness of a person does not depend on one's bread and the welfare of the nation does not depend on bread, but on how much the citizens listen to God's Word (conf. Mt 4:4), how much everyone, especially those involved in community work, honestly, responsibly, transparently, conscientiously fulfill their duties," the bishops write.

"You know that ‘faith operates by love' as the Apostle St. Paul teaches us (conf. Gal. 5:6). We want to finish this letter to you with the wish that you execute your duties with love to the people, with the democratic will of which you received this large responsibility for its fate," concludes the Synod of Bishops' appeal.

The regular meeting of the Synod of Bishops of the Kyiv-Halych Major Archbishopric of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church took place on March 24-25 in Lviv. The UGCC counts approximately five million faithful in Ukraine and is the third largest religious organization in the state.

Information Department of the UGCC

The full text of the document is available on the official web site of the UGCC at this link: