The Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Crimea may be left without a church, Major Archbiship Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), said in Lviv on Thursday, October 23.
According to Archbishop Shevchuk, on January 1, 2015, the UGCC on the peninsula may find itself outside the law, and all church edifices and cathedrals may be confiscated. He said this applies to all churches and religious organizations in Crimea.
“The so-called government of Crimea has issued a new law under which all religious organizations must go through a re-registration process. The requirements are very complicated. But even if we succeeded in fulfilling all the requirements, there is no guarantee that the re-registration will ensure the right to exist for the Greek Catholic community in Crimea,” he said.
Today there are five parishes in Crimea: in Yalta, Yevpatoria, Simferopol, Sevastopol and Kerch. At this time services are being held in all the churches.
Meanwhile, in the Donbas combat zone, 67 Greek Catholic priests are ministering to the faithful. Nine parishes are under the control of the DNR (Donetsk People’s Republic) group. Divine services are taking place in all the parishes except for Horlivka. In Donetsk, the DNR has given two priests permission to provide pastoral care, but the priests must reach the other towns by crossing checkpoints.
The bishop’s residence and the UGCC monastery in Donetsk have been looted and militants have taken up residence there.