“Russian occupation limits or even destroys religious freedom”: Bishop Borys Gudziak

November 1, 2023, 16:09 51

On October 30, a delegation of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (AUCCRO) testified about Russian repressions in the occupied territories during meetings with American experts and opinion leaders in Washington, DC. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was represented by Archbishop and Metropolitan of Philadelphia Borys Gudziak and Archpriest Oleksa Petriv, head of the Department of External Relations of the UGCC in Ukraine, as reported on AUCCRO website.

 “Russian occupation limits or even destroys religious freedom”: Bishop Borys Gudziak

During a panel discussion at the U. S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D. C., Bishop Borys Gudziak emphasized that every time the Russian state occupies the territory of Ukraine, the UGCC loses its legal status and is persecuted: “It was so under Queen Catherine, in the nineteenth century, in the twentieth century, when the Church was liquidated, and it is happening now. Ukrainian churches and religious organizations know that the Russian occupation is limiting or even destroying religious freedom.”

In addition, the Metropolitan of Philadelphia noted that there are almost no active Catholic priests in the occupied territories, either of the Eastern or Western rites.

On the same day, Ukrainian religious leaders met with experts from the Heritage Foundation, a strategic research institute of the United States. They discussed the role of Ukraine’s religious community in protecting the values of democracy, the rule of law, freedom of religion, family principles, and other conservative values.

A separate meeting was convened with the leadership of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). It was agreed to expand partnerships with religious communities in Ukraine to provide humanitarian aid and implement educational projects in support of the Ukrainian people suffering from Russian aggression.

The delegation of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations arrived in the United States with representatives of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Church of Evangelical Christians, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Evangelical Church, the Association of Jewish Religious Organizations, the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Bible Society, and the leadership of the Institute for Religious Freedom.

The UGCC Department for Information

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