Ukrainian army tries to block largest church from delivering chaplains because of “Moscow link”


Eastern Europe


A chaplain to the Ukrainian Army conducts a prayer for Ukrainian servicemen before their departure to the frontline. Photo AFP, Yasuyoshi Chiba

The Ukrainian Parliament is considering a draft that aims to limit the service of chaplains from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) in the army.

The Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) will hasten the vote so that the law can be implemented in January 2024, Slovoproslovo writes. It is likely that the Parliament, known as the Verkhovna Rada, will vote on it during the first reading before the end of the year. That means that the law may be adopted as early as January next year.

One of the most far-reaching aims of the bill is the prohibitions for representatives from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to become chaplains, LB.ua writes. The draft reads that those who belong to a religious organisation "which Article 12 of the Law of Ukraine on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organisations recognises as belonging to a structure whose management centre is located in the aggressor state will not able to become them."

There has been a heated discussion in Ukraine on how to deal with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) because of its canonical ties to the Russian Orthodox Church and Patriarch Kirill, who openly supports Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The country is also working on a ban on the activities of the church in certain cases, for example. The UOC is still the largest denomination in the country. The measures against the church are very controversial, both national and international.


In addition, the Security Service of Ukraine announced that it had placed Patriarch Kirill on a wanted list and issued an arrest warrant for him. That is reported by Raskolam. The security service wants to place the Patriarch behind bars for "encroaching on the territorial integrity of Ukraine and waging an aggressive war or aggressive actions, respectively." These charges could lead to a jail term of 15 years or more and confiscation of property.

According to the Ukrainian authorities, Kirill is hiding from the judicial measures taken against him and has disappeared since November 11, 2023, SPHZ writes.



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