Unified Orthodox local church not become state institution – Poroshenko
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has stressed that getting the status of autocephaly by the Orthodox Church in Ukraine will not mean that it will become a state institution.
"I want to assure that tomos (an official church document), which we so hope and strive to achieve, and the emergence of a recognized unified local church will in no way mean a violation of the constitutional principle of freedom of conscience. The unified Orthodox local church will not become a state church. All believers will have the right to freely choose their places of worship and denominations," Poroshenko said in his address to lawmakers during his speech at the Verkhovna Rada on Thursday.
"People who want to stay in the church that will maintain unity with the Russian Orthodox Church will also have a guaranteed right to choose," he said.
"In issues such as religion, any coercion or bans are categorically unacceptable. Any violence in inter-religious relations is unacceptable. Its outbursts, God forbid, clashes, will bring us farther from the goal, not closer to it. Moreover, they may make its achievement impossible," Poroshenko said.
"There will be autocephaly and time will put everything in its place. It will take more than one day, more than one month, even more than a year, but it will put everything [in its place]," Poroshenko said.