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Ukrainian leader signs new law aimed at Moscow patriarchate

December 27, 2018

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed new legislation aimed at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church affiliated with the Moscow patriarchate, requiring that body to use the legal name of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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The law—which will likely to be appealed—amends existing religious-freedom legislation to apply to “a religious organization (association), a governing center of which is located outside Ukraine in a State that is recognized by law as having committed military aggression against Ukraine”—a definition that applies only to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate.

President Poroshenko has been an enthusiastic supporter of the new autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The legislation is evidently designed to encourage Orthodox parishes to affiliate with the new patriarchate.

To date only a few parishes aligned with Moscow have switched their affiliation.


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