Wednesday, May 25, 2022

    Rada to consider military chaplaincy bill at second reading

    Draft Law “On the Military Chaplaincy Service” is being prepared for a second reading in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and will soon be put to a vote.

    The bill was discussed during the latest meeting of the Values. Dignity. Family inter-factional parliamentary association and representatives of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, which took place under the chairmanship of Ukrainian Bible Society Hryhoriy Komendant on November 1, 2021.

    That’s according to a report by Institute for Religious Freedom.

    MPs said the process of finalizing the amendments is nearing completion therefore and the bill is expected to be adopted soon.

    In addition, religious leaders raised the issue of concluding long-term contracts for the supply of natural gas to religious communities at fixed prices. Deputy Energy Minister of Ukraine Yevhen Vladimirov, as well as representatives of NJSC Naftogaz and Naftogaz Trading gas supply company took part in the discussion on raising gas and electricity prices for religious organizations.

    The participants in the meeting also focused on the procedure of registration of religious communities in the context of the ongoing administrative reform, which provides for a change in the structure of local authorities. The parties agreed to dedicate a separate meeting to address the issue.

    The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations was represented by Hryhoriy Komendant, Chairman of the Ukrainian Bible Society, Markos Hovhannisyan, Bishop of the Ukrainian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and representatives of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The All-Ukrainian Union of Churches of Evangelical Baptist Christians, the Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church, the Ukrainian Evangelical Church, the Association of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine, and the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Ukraine.

    The Values. Dignity. Family Inter-factional deputy association was represented by its co-chairman Sviatoslav Yurash (the ruling Servant of the People party), as well as MPs Roman Kostenko and Andriy Sharaskin (the Voice party).

    This is the ninth meeting in the framework of dialogue set up between the Council and the said inter-factional parliamentary association, which was launched late 2020.

    It should be recalled that the head of OCU recently discussed the law on chaplaincy with the Commander of Ukraine Army’s Land Forces.

    In April 2021, the draft law on chaplaincy passed first reading in Parliament.