April 2, 2012

The major archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church said government-backed legislation to transfer control of key national Christian shrines to the Orthodox Church was "a clear threat to the interdenominational peace and agreement established in our state during recent years.

"Do the authors of this bill understand that, by their initiative, they are again pushing our motherland into a whirlpool of interdenominational – and in this case interethnic – confrontation with unpredictable consequences?" asked Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych.

Under proposed legislation, major shrines such as Kiev's Monastery of the Caves, currently under state ownership, would be handed over to the largest Orthodox denomination, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate.