All-Ukrainian Council of Churches & Religious Organizations call for a single State agency on religious affairs
The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations declared at a special session on Thursday, 14 December, that Ukraine needs a single State body in charge of religious affairs. They expressed concern that the abolition of the State Committee of Ukraine on Nationalities and Religions and transfer of its functions to other authorities would jeopardize social harmony and Church-State dialogue.
The Council unanimously adopted an appeal to President Yanukovych asking him to reinstate the work of a State agency on religious affairs. They suggested that a possible option in the context of administrative reform would be the creation of a State Service of Nationalities and Religions dealing with registration of religious organizations and all other functions set out in Article 30 of the Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations.
Bishop Yevstratiy from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Kyiv Patriarchate believes that the dissolution of a single body could open the way to hasty amendments being made to the said Law.
Cardinal Lyubomyr Huzar, Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church believes that there needs to be a mechanism for Church-State relations ensuring constant dialogue on topical issues. He sees this becoming more difficult as a result of the abolition of the State Committee.
Those present at the meeting also expressed concern over the President’s decision to dissolve the National Expert Commission for the Protection of Public Morality, and declared their support for this body. They will be preparing a special appeal calling for the retention of both the National Commission and the Law on the Protection of Public Morality,, with the possibility of improving this.
They also appealed to the President to have Article 157 of the Tax Code amended which presently excludes donations to religious organizations
The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations has existed for 15 years and unites around 95% of all Ukraine’s religious bodies.
From information at http://irs.in.ua