After the completion of the Council of bishops November 13, 2018, which adopted a Resolution on the latest Church events in Ukraine, in different regions of Ukraine almost simultaneously there were a number of provocations directed against the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The situation for the outreach Department of the UOC, said Chairman of the Legal Department Archpriest Oleksandr bakhov.
“Today, with the different powers of the acts to put pressure on bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Evidence of this is the number of pickets and illegal actions of diocesan offices and of the residences of the bishops of the UOC. We can also see that systematically publishes all sorts of information about the UOC, their status, place of residence, of movement – with the purpose to draw attention to their activities and to try to somehow discredit. In addition, there are calls of bishops of the UOC to talk to SBU,” — said the Chairman of the legal Department.
In his opinion, “given the consistency, simultaneity, mass, these actions are aimed at bishops to put pressure and force them to participate in the so-called “unification Council””.
Archpriest Alexander noted that these provocations are a direct violation of the constitutional rights of citizens of Ukraine.
“Organizing a project like the “single local Ukrainian Church”, the state ensures the right to freedom of conscience certain part of Ukrainian citizens. But at the same time, the state violates the rights of another part of Ukraine, which belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” he said.
Analyzing the latest developments, the lawyer drew attention to their discreditation character.
“Look at what is written on those posters, why the protesters wearing balaclavas, why property harm, why are they now all come from? Why publishing the personal data of the bishops? The bishops say that “we invite You to talk.” But conversation, in the context of that conversation?”. “It is, in a certain way, psychological pressure,” he said.
According to father Alexander, certain forces are trying to influence the decision of the bishops to participate in the so-called “unification Council”.
He said: “Such events are, to some extent, expected, since the bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church at the Council of bishops from 13 November 2018 very clearly defined its position regarding recent events and in particular the actions of the Constantinople Patriarchate on the canonical territory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”
In addition, said the head of the legal Department, the provocations have a pronounced artificial and centralized, and are not impartial manifestation of the will of the people. “For example, when there was a picket near the residence of the Archbishop of boyar Feodosia – after the believers called the police, supporters of the “Thomas” immediately, without waiting for the arrival of the officers, gone. It seems that they have been informed”.
The lawyer said that to respond to such provocations should be the legal way. “Earlier, the interior Minister promised that he will not allow clashes on religious grounds, but we see that the opposite occurs. You need to avoid this, you need to control the situation, he explains. – In case of illegal actions of “activists” need to contact the police: call the police to write statements, to complain, to fix all the cases.”
Archpriest Alexander also said the rights of the clergy and the faithful if they call the police
“This communication with law enforcement agencies is regulated by the Criminal procedure code. In the case of a call, the person has the right to know in what capacity, on what basis and who calls it. If it is impossible to obtain such information, then you need to ask to be sent a summons. Especially if it’s not an interrogation, but a conversation you don’t have to go. If you want to talk please, you have no such desire — your right. Also citizens have the right to use legal assistance which is guaranteed by article 59 of the Constitution of Ukraine, and come to this kind of talking together with a lawyer. In addition, during this conversation, you have the right not to incriminate themselves and their close relatives. This right is guaranteed by article 63 of the Constitution of Ukraine”.
Note that two hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church stated publicly that he had been on “conversations” in the SBU and told how it happened.
Last night the Manager of the Zaporozhye diocese of the Metropolitan of Luke reported that he was summoned without agenda, however, he insisted to take a lawyer with you.
“The conversation was very correct,” said master Luke. Asked how often he travels abroad, is subject to customs inspection and the like. The SBU also approached him with a request that if it is abroad suitable and will offer something to pass in Ukraine, to inform the authorities about the incident. The Bishop noted that any documents he had signed.
On the morning of 20 November, the Manager of Berdyansk diocese Archbishop Ephrem about his visit to SBU on the personal page wrote to Facebook: “to All dear, thank you for your prayer support. Was my meeting in the SBU. Very tolerant, polite, calm, respectful. The issue of security during the stay abroad.”