13 December 2018

Yesterday, my colleague from the Opposition Bloc’s faction in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Aleksandr Dolzhenkov, and I registered a constitutional petition with the Constitutional Court of Ukraine to commence proceedings on compliance with the Supreme Law of Ukraine of the Verkhovna Rada's resolution "On support of the appeal of the President of Ukraine to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the provision of a tomos of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine" dated 19 April 2018.

I said and wrote it many times that these lawless steps contradict the laws of Ukraine and the canons of the Church. The Church is not an attribute of independence of a state and not a political organization. The Church lives by its own laws, which are thousands of years old.

The actions of President Poroshenko and those of the MPs who voted for this resolution contradict Article 35 of the Constitution of Ukraine – the authorities violate the basic human right that is the right to freedom of conscience and religion.

The Constitution of Ukraine has the highest legal force and guarantees that the state does not interfere in the affairs of the Church.

The methods by which the authorities are trying to build a religious structure under their control are unacceptable and impossible.

It is impossible to build a new life and a new country violating its basic law – the Constitution of Ukraine – and ignoring the thousand-year laws of the Church. It is impossible to sow discord and confusion instead of peace and mutual respect for the sake of one’s own selfish interests.

My colleagues and I believe that the President, as a guarantor of the Constitution, bears personal responsibility for such infringement of the Supreme Law and of the rights and freedoms of Ukrainians.

Forty-five MPs from several factions of the parliament supported Aleksandr Dolzhenkov and me. They represent the Opposition Bloc’s faction in full, as well as partly come from Vidrodzhennya, People’s Will and Self-Reliance factions, and the inter-factional parliamentary association For Protection of Violated Constitutional Rights of Citizens and Against Political Repression "Forbidden to Forbid".

Many thanks to them for this – for their position courageous for these times.

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