A bill that would ban the Kremlin-backed branch of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine moved forward on Thursday.
The Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, passed the first reading of a bill banning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, Yaroslav Zheleznyak, the Ukrainian People’s Representative reported via telegram.
The draft law received the support of 267 representatives. The largest number of those who voted in favor of the initiative were from the party of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Servant of the People – 175 of whom supported it.
For the bill to enter into force, it must be voted on on its second reading and signed by Zelensky.
The UOC-MP has a canonical ecclesiastical relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and, as such, is considered the fifth column of Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine.
On June 7, Oleksandr Tkachenko, Ukrainian Minister of Culture and Information, said that if the law was passed, within three days, the UOC-MP would have to stop using the property of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra National Reserve, which includes the Monastery of St. John the Baptist. Caves, one of the most important spiritual and historical sites in Ukraine.
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