The regional council of Volyn decided to ban the activities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) of the Moscow Patriarchate in the region. As reported on the council's website, all 54 deputies present in the hall voted in favor. The Council decided to appeal to the President of Ukraine with a request to immediately submit to the Verkhovna Rada for consideration a draft law “On Ensuring the Strengthening of National Security in the Sphere of Freedom of Conscience and the Activities of Religious Organizations.”
First Deputy Chairman of the Regional Council Yuriy Polishchuk recalled that back in September, Volyn deputies appealed to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers and the National Security and Defense Council with a demand to ban the activities of the UOC in the country, but this decision has not yet been made.
Polishchuk noted that the UOC has dozens of churches in the Volyn region, including the complex of the Svyatogorsky Assumption Monastery, an architectural monument of national importance. The MP called for an inventory in the districts and communities and to terminate the contracts under which the buildings are in the use of the UOC.
The representative of the Volyn Regional Military Administration, Vasily Gaiduk, told Suspіlna that 523 parishes of the UOC were registered in the region. After the start of a full-scale Russian invasion, 49 parishes came under the control of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), which was created in 2018, and in 2019 received the status of an autocephalous church from the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The decision of the Volyn Regional Council was made against the background of the ongoing confrontation around the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, from which the Ukrainian authorities are trying to expel the monks of the UOC-MP. On April 1, the Kiev court sent the governor of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, Metropolitan Pavel, under house arrest. He is suspected of inciting inter-religious hatred (Article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) and justifying Russia's armed aggression (Article 436 of the Criminal Code).