Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Volodymyr Borodyanskiy has said the former Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) should indicate in its name that it is part of the Russian Church, as its center of influence is located in Moscow.
"And we understand that the center of influence on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is in Russia, in Moscow. Of course, Ukraine must somehow take this into account. And I believe the principle that the church should indicate in its name that it is part of the Russian Orthodox Church is a clear norm that simply determines who is who. Everyone should understand that the center of influence on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is located in Moscow, via the Synod," he said in an interview to the Religious Information Service of Ukraine (RISU).
According to Borodyanskiy, the state should not order the church how the latter should be called, but during the war, it should determine who is who and provide people with an opportunity to choose consciously.
"Indeed, there is a fact here that the country has begun to intervene in such elements as the name – this is not very correct. But during the war, during the period of aggression against our country, when events are taking place in the east, and they have been going on for a long time, and when our Crimea has been occupied – I think this is normal when the country determines who is who. And it seems to me that such demands cannot be considered interference in this context. So that people could consciously choose. The state did nothing, it just said: Let's identify. That's all. Freedom of religion remains, but let's identify who is who in this territory. I do not see any problems here," the minister said.
As UNIAN reported earlier, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, on December 20, 2018, passed a bill to rename the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.
The decision to amend the Law of Ukraine "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations" regarding the name of religious organizations/associations that are incorporated in/are part of in a religious organization/association whose head office/administration is located outside Ukraine, in a state that is recognized by law as carrying out military aggression against Ukraine and/or temporarily occupying part of the territory of Ukraine (No. 5309) was backed by 240 MPs out of 289 registered in the session hall,
According to the bill, the church is invited to rename itself and give its name, it may choose any option for itself. However, the bill imposes only one restriction, namely the church "subordinated to the aggressor state has no right to have representation in military units on the front line."