Two-thirds of the violations of the rights of the Orthodox believers of Europe in 2017 has had on Ukraine, said “Interfax” in the Center of monitoring of violations of rights and freedoms of Orthodox operating at the representative office of the Russian Orthodox Church in Strasbourg.
“According to the results of monitoring of the 47 member countries of the Council of Europe in 2017 were collected 165 violations of freedoms and rights of Orthodox Christians. About 66% of the collected cases occur in Ukraine, 17% – in South-Eastern Europe (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Turkey) and 15% at Russia. In addition, recorded one violation in Poland and one in Germany and Belgium”, – said the Agency representative of the Russian Orthodox Church at the Council of Europe Abbot Philip (Ryabykh).
According to him, most cases of slander against the Orthodox in 2017 also took place in Ukraine. “Some noteworthy instances of false denunciation to the police on the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church” – said priest. In addition, in Albania to 2017 was published offensive book against the Serbian Orthodox Church and sparked wide negative reactions among the faithful.
The interlocutor of Agency has reminded that the European Convention on human rights imposes on the state party the obligation to protect religious communities from physical and verbal attacks of third parties. Ukraine is approximately half of the cases of physical attacks were initiated by members of the non-canonical religious organizations and radical nationalists.
“It should be noted that almost all cases of seizure of churches in Ukraine also contain instances of violence, intimidation and inhuman treatment of Orthodox believers. In South-Eastern Europe the most frequent type of incidents in 2017 offensive graffiti against the Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church, and there was one murder of a priest,” said the priest.
Among the countries of South-Eastern Europe the majority of cases involving an impediment to the normal functioning Orthodox Churches in 2017 was recorded in Greece. Also remains tense life of the Orthodox communities in Albania and in Kosovo.
“Ukraine in 2017, the main problem was the refusal of the Ministry of culture to register the statutes of the dioceses and monasteries of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Another group of violations in Ukraine was connected with the desire to prevent the veneration of certain Orthodox saints, books, monuments, and symbols reminiscent of the spiritual ties with the Russian tradition,” – said the priest.
According to him, the state’s obligation to respect the autonomy of religious organizations includes the obligation not to intervene in religious conflicts. Meanwhile, in 2017, the violation of this obligation was presented only incidents from Ukraine, said the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church at the Council of Europe.
The most striking example of this violation, he said, was the attempt of the Verkhovna Rada to consider two bills that are directly aimed against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church: one of them was practically offered to legalize raider seizure of churches, and the other – to subordinate the internal operations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church control of secular authorities.
“The driving force behind numerous violations of the rights of the Orthodox in the Ukraine was due to the desire of the state to break spiritual and cultural ties with the Russian people by the discrimination of the canonical Orthodox Church and support religious groups formed as a result of the split recognized by the world Orthodoxy of the Church,” said the priest.