International Orthodox Christian News

Moscow, March 31, Interfax – Authorities of the Ivano-Frankovsk Region plan to address Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko with a request to recognize special status of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church as a repressed religious organization at the national level.

UGCC has acquired status of a repressed organization at the local level. The corresponding decree of the Ivano-Frankovsk local council says it was restoring historical justice as the Soviet authorities liquidated UGCC in 1946. Status of a repressed organization gives Uniate community privileges on land and property, the Kommersant daily has reported on Tuesday.

“According to local authorities’ decision, property that once belonged to UGCC has been given back to it during last 17 years. However, until now there were no formal grounds for such actions. Today the status of a repressed organization legalizes such transfer of property to UGCC,” Chair of the local council Igor Oliynyk said.

Officials from the Ukrainian Presidential Secretariat said they hadn’t received Ivano-Frankovsk address, but it would be considered in due course. Chair of the Supreme Rada Committee on Culture and Spirituality Vladimir Yavoryevsky confirmed his readiness to initiate adoption of such decision among MPs.

The Moscow Patriarchate was surprised with “selective attitude” of Ukrainian authorities. Deputy Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin reminds that all religious communities were subjected to repressions in Soviet times, thus “if we talk about repressed Churches, we should start from Orthodox,” as “it was subjected to repressions throughout Soviet rule, which came to Ukraine with twenty years delay.”

The Moscow Patriarchate Secretary for Inter-Christian relations Fr. Igor Vyzhanov sees “inadequate ambitions” and “aggressive expansion” in actions of Greek Catholics in Ukraine. He believes Uniates strife for national status is groundless considering their small representation.

“It’s a kind of strange missionary ardor to spread their influence on the entire Ukraine,” the priest said.


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