Shirokoradiuk, who stated that in today’s difficult situation the Church cannot remain silent.

Shirokoradiuk, who stated that in today’s difficult situation the Church cannot remain silent.

In this case, religious associations have fulfilled their educational function, contributing to the formation of a high political culture of the population of Ukraine.

In the last months of 2004, there was a surge in the socio-political activity of religious organizations, which surpassed their social activity, which has been observed since Ukraine’s independence. The article analyzes the position of various religious organizations during the "Orange" revolution.

Despite the direct prohibition of the law on the participation of religious organizations in political processes (according to the requirements of Article 5 of the Law of Ukraine "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations" they are not allowed to campaign, and part 3 of Article 16 of the same Law states that political agitation religious organizations can be forcibly liquidated in court), they showed a clear reluctance to be blind, deaf and dumb at the time of the popular uprising.

At that time, there was virtually no religious association left that did not declare its civic position. Most religious leaders shared the views of Roman Catholic Bishop S. Shirokoradiuk, who said that in today’s difficult situation, the Church cannot remain silent. They argued that as an institution the Church was separated from the state, but should not and could not be separated from society. Therefore, by virtue of its spiritual nature, it has the right to give a moral assessment of the events of public life and call on Christians and all citizens not only in personal but also in public life to keep God’s commandments, reject evil and seek good [one].

The voice of the Church was heard throughout the active phase of the election campaign. From the very beginning, spokesmen for various churches have made statements and appeals to believers, convincing them of the importance of elections for society. On October 7, at a press conference in UNIAN, a joint appeal of the Christian churches of Ukraine to the voters was published. Church leaders called on every Ukrainian to fulfill his constitutional duty to vote and determine the further development of the state. They expressed their conviction that Ukraine’s independence is not just a natural consequence of a long historical process, but a special gift of God.

"Many previous generations fought for the will of the Ukrainian people and their statehood and gave their lives for it, but failed to achieve the goal of their struggle, while we witnessed the peaceful and bloodless declaration of independence of Ukraine. Awareness not only convinces everyone of firmness and irreversibility of the process of state formation, but also imposes on the citizens of independent Ukraine the obligation to wisely use the gift received from God "- said in a statement [2].

Without agitating for anyone, Church leaders emphasized that in the voting booth, every voter must remember that he is endowed by God and the Constitution with the right to free choice, and therefore must freely, listening only to his own conscience, vote for his favorite candidate. Each member of the Church is a citizen of his state, the construction of which on democratic principles presupposes not only the recognition of the people of Ukraine as a source of state power, but also imposes on each one a personal responsibility to God, past and future generations. Therefore, although the Church as a social institution does not interfere in political life, every Christian not only has the right but must take an active part in public life, building his civic position on the basis of the Gospel.

The appeal was signed by the heads of the UOC-KP, Patriarch Filaret; UGCC Cardinal Lubomir (Husar); G. Komendant, President of VSO EHB; Bishop of the RCC M. Trokhimyak; senior bishop of the Church of CEE of Ukraine M. Panochko; Chairman of the Council of Bishops of the HPP L. Padun; V. Raichynets, senior presbyter of the HEC of Ukraine; member of the council of the Brotherhood of Independent Churches and Missions of the ECB of Ukraine P. Balatsky [2].

On the eve of the elections on October 31, the press service of the Head of the UGCC published an appeal by Cardinal Lubomyr (Husar) urging citizens to take part in the elections and make their choices consciously and independently, members of territorial and precinct election commissions to provide each voter with the opportunity to implement them. the right to vote and elect, heads and employees of law enforcement agencies – to be guided in their activities by the norms of law, morality and humanism and to prevent violations of human rights and freedoms. The head of the UGCC expressed hope that the presidential candidates, if elected, would be the real guarantors of the Constitution and would never violate or allow others to violate the Basic Law and thus contribute to the formation of civil society.

The course of the election campaign and the general results of the first round of voting in the presidential election forced the leaders of the Christian Churches of Ukraine on the eve of the second round of voting on behalf of their denominations to appeal to fellow citizens to explain their Christian position on the Ukrainian presidential election. The appeal was published on November 12 at a press conference in UNIAN. In it, representatives of the Churches called on the authorities, law enforcement agencies, courts, and the media not only not to take part in various falsifications, pressure on voters or other illegal actions, but also to oppose attempts to distort the true will of citizens.

As for the newly elected President, the leaders of the Christian Churches expressed the belief that "only fair and just elections will give him the necessary legitimacy in the eyes of the people and only a justly elected President will have the moral right to speak on behalf of the people of Ukraine. " The clergy saw this as a guarantee of the unity of the state and the spiritual integrity of its people. The hierarchs believed that an important result of the first round of voting was the high activity of citizens in exercising the right to choose.

The voting showed that people believed in the strength and effectiveness of their will, felt their own responsibility for the proper choice of state leaders, and therefore in various ways with great sacrifice served the common cause. Church leaders thanked "all those who, as voters, members of election commissions at various levels, government or local government representatives, in the manner prescribed by law, aware of the importance of voting results, faithfully exercised their powers within the law, especially when it was associated with overcoming pressure and with personal sacrifice ". At the same time, they expressed about the numerous errors in the voter lists and called on citizens to actively help election commissions identify and eliminate these shortcomings [4].

In an effort to promote fair elections, Drohobych priests, in particular, urged election commission leaders to swear on the Bible that they would not falsify the presidential election.

On November 17, 2004, representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Christians of the Evangelical Faith of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church formed a statement asking fellow citizens not to equate agitation statements and actions of individual religious figures with the position of all Christian Churches of Ukraine. The authors of the statement emphasized: "Respecting the laws of Ukraine, our Churches adhere to these norms and do not conduct political campaigning during the election campaign.

Our Churches see their role in the electoral process in praying for a fair election, calling on all citizens of Ukraine to consciously fulfill their responsibilities, and expressing the moral criteria formulated on the basis of Christian doctrine, which all electoral participants must follow during the election … campaigns ".

The participation of these churches in the elections was that "in the prayer meetings of the Churches in recent months prayers for fair and just elections of the President of Ukraine, Christian Churches issued appeals to their faithful, and their leaders addressed twice the election to fellow citizens with common ". The signatories appealed to religious figures who violate the Law of Ukraine by participating in political agitation, with a call not to humiliate the Church by their actions and not to turn sacred words and symbols for Christians into an appendage of the agitation campaign [6].

The falsification of the second round of the presidential election and the large-scale action of the people to defend their choice in the capital and many other cities of Ukraine prompted religious organizations to make statements and appeals about their position.

The leaders of the six Christian churches that formed the Meeting made public their address on November 23 during a rally on Independence Square in Kyiv. They expressed concern about the unfair course of the election campaign, and especially about the mass falsification of the results of the people’s will. "The Church is called to bear witness to the truth, to preach love and peace, and therefore cannot accept untruth," the petitioners said. They called on the Ukrainian people to defend the truth, to preserve unity and civil peace, to abide by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, and to prevent violence. The superiors appealed to the authorities, as well as to the Supreme and local courts, to remember the responsibility before God for the fulfillment of the responsibilities assigned to them by the people.

On the same day, the Synod of Bishops of the Kyiv-Halych Metropolitanate of the UGCC addressed "the faithful and all people of good will" on the occasion of the critical situation in Ukraine. Greek Catholic bishops said their church did not campaign for any of the candidates during the election campaign, but stressed the importance of adhering to democratic principles during the election, warning of possible violations of election law. In fact, the warnings mentioned in previous appeals, namely: obstruction of free will of citizens, unilateral information, use of administrative resources, purchase of votes, falsification of election results took place.