Urge Congress and the State Department to react to these threats to freedom in Ukraine!
Ukrainian protesters on Maidan, under the statue of St. Michael the Archangel
1. On Christmas Eve, Old Calendar style, January 6, 2014, the Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture threatened the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church for its spiritual support given to the protesters of what is now known as Euromaidan, those on Maidan (Independence) Square demanding that Ukraine sign for accession to the European Union. Should this support not end, the Ministry will seek to de-register the UGCC, returning it to the illegal existence imposed by Stalin in 1946! Only the UGCC has been threatened, no other faith despite widespread spiritual support for Maidan.
Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the international head of the UGCC, announced on January 13 that the Church will not stop its support of those people, or of the cause for freedom:
Our Church has always been true and will remain so for the future mission that Christ the Saviorentrusted, despite all the threats. We thought that the time of repression has passed, but letters likethese give us doubts. We are not ashamed of our presence on the Maidan and will remain there.
2. The Ukrainian Parliament has voted, by a show of hands in a surprise motion, to ban many forms of public protest, on January 16. Reuters reports:
The law, backed by 235 of 450 lawmakers, said unauthorized installation of tents, stages or amplifiers in public places in Ukraine would be punished by a fine of up to $640 or by up to 15 days in detention.People and organizations who provided facilities or equipment for unauthorized meetings would be liable to a fine of up $1,275 or by detention of up to 10 days. Since the Yanukovych government will not grant permits, the Maidan protest is endangered. The average salary in Ukraine in November 2013 is all of $391.96. If these “laws” are enforced, opposition supporters will be bankrupted.
3. The website of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is being attacked with Denial of Service, DOS, emanating from Russia. Each time the website has made changes to adapt, new and more attacks come, knocking the website down. Read more at http://risu.org.ua/en/index/all_news/community/scandals/54965/. This website still works. All the attacks are from the Russian telephone service.
God grant that Ukraine will have true freedom, and that the Western Powers will act against these harsh attacks on religious and political freedom quickly, like they did against the Soviets. The issues are the same: freedom for the human soul.